The deadline for county boards of elections to receive applications from...

The deadline for county boards of elections to receive applications from voters who applied by mail, fax or through the state portal is Monday, Oct. 24. Credit: James Carbone

ALBANY — New Yorkers who want to vote by absentee ballot this year face requirements and deadlines to apply for and cast their vote. Here’s how to vote by absentee ballot for the Nov. 8 election.

What reasons justify use of an absentee ballot?

A voter must identify the reason for using an absentee ballot. Those reasons are: “Absence from county or New York City on election day; temporary illness or physical disability (temporary illness includes being unable to appear due to risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease like COVID-19); permanent illness or disability; duties related to primary care of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled; resident or patient of a Veterans Health Administration hospital; detention in jail/prison, awaiting trial, awaiting action by a grand jury, or in prison for a conviction of a crime or offense which is not a felony.”

How do I get an absentee ballot?

Registered voters may request an absentee ballot in person through their county or borough board of elections or through the state board of elections. Supply a name, county, ZIP code and date of birth and the portal will provide a confirmation number to track the application. The confirmation also includes contact information for the voter’s local board of elections where a voter may get help to apply for an absentee ballot.

Visually impaired voters may apply to receive a PDF ballot.

An application can be downloaded from the state in English and Spanish.

A registered voter may also designate someone to pick up an application.

What’s the deadline for applying for an absentee ballot?

Monday, Oct. 24: Deadline for county boards of elections to receive applications from voters who applied by mail, fax or through the state portal. Absentee ballots will be mailed to voters.

Nov. 7: Final day a voter may apply for an absentee ballot in person at his or her local board of elections.

When must voters cast their absentee ballot?

An absentee ballot must be postmarked no later than Nov. 7 and must be received by the local board of elections by Nov. 15. Absentee ballots sent as military voter ballots must be received by the voter’s local board of elections no later than Nov. 21.

Voters may drop off their absentee ballot at any early voting site in the voter’s county during the early voting period, Oct. 29 through Nov. 6.

Voters may deliver an absentee ballot in person to a polling place by the 9 p.m. close of voting on the traditional Election Day of Nov. 8. Absentee ballots may be submitted to any poll site in the voter’s county or at the local board of elections offices by the close of polls on Nov. 8.

What has changed about the process this year?

Under a new law, voters may no longer cast a ballot during early voting or on Nov. 8 through a voting machine if they have already been issued an absentee ballot. Voters who were issued an absentee ballot may vote at a polling place using an affidavit ballot, which will be kept separate and not counted until election officials can verify that the voter’s absentee ballot hasn’t been received. If the absentee ballot has been received, the affidavit ballot won’t be counted.

If a voter applies for a second absentee ballot, any ballot received by the local board of elections will be set aside unopened to allow time for a voter to submit a second absentee ballot. The last unopened absentee ballot submitted by mail or in person will be counted.

How many New Yorkers vote by absentee ballot?

In the 2020 general election that included the presidential election, 2.3 million absentee ballots were mailed to voters and 1.8 million were cast. The volume was attributed in part to voters trying to avoid crowded polls during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 2018 general election, which had a similar slate of races as this year, 351,000 absentee ballots were mailed to voters and 246,000 were cast.

Can I track my absentee ballot?

The state Board of Elections online portal provides a voter with his or her poll site, confirms voter registration, and provides data from the state’s “Absentee Ballot Tracker,” which was created by law this year.

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