As Election Day nears and questions linger about how well the U.S. Postal Service will handle a spike in absentee ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic, deadlines loom for voters.
Anyone wishing to cast their ballots in the upcoming presidential election needs to make sure they are registered to vote. Voters can print out a New York State voter registration form found at elections.ny.gov, call 1-800-FOR-VOTE to have an application mailed home, or find an application at any local post office.
Applications must be postmarked by Oct. 9 and received by either the board of elections in Nassau or Suffolk counties by Oct. 14 for a voter to be eligible. Change of address forms for voters who are already registered must also be received by Oct. 14.
Suffolk residents can mail their applications to the Suffolk County Board of Elections, PO Box 700, 700 Yaphank Ave., Yaphank, NY 11980. Nassau residents can mail their applications to Nassau County Board of Elections, 240 Old Country Rd., 5th Floor, Mineola, NY 11501. Voters can also drop off their applications in person at these locations.
To be eligible, voters must be 18 years old by Election Day, a U.S. citizen not serving prison time for or on parole for a felony, and not have claimed the right to vote elsewhere.
Voters concerned about potentially being exposed to COVID-19 at local polling places can request an absentee ballot to vote by mail. To apply, download the absentee ballot request form at absenteeballot.elections.ny.gov, email BOEInfo@suffolkcountyny.gov for a copy, and mail the completed form to one of the two boards of elections addresses above. Military service members serving overseas can apply at fvap.gov
Voters using an absentee ballot because of the pandemic can write “COVID” or select the box next to “temporary illness or physical disability” in section one of the application form.
Absentee ballot request forms must be emailed, faxed, or postmarked by Oct. 27. Nov. 2 is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot in person from the board of elections offices.
Once a voter has received, filled out, signed, dated, and secured an absentee ballot in the envelope provided, it must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by the board of elections by Nov. 10, but the post office does not guarantee mail will arrive in less than two weeks. Military ballots must be received by Nov. 13. And absentee ballots dropped off in person must be received by Nov. 3 and handed to an election worker.
Besides the pandemic, voters can also request absentee ballots if they’re unavoidably away from their home county on Election Day, unable to go to the polls due to an illness or injury, are a patient at a Veterans’ Administration Hospital, are jailed, or serving a prison sentence for anything other than a felony.
Voters can cast their ballots at any one of the 12 early voting sites in Suffolk or 15 early voting sites in Nassau between Oct. 24 and Nov. 1. Suffolk locations and times can be found at suffolkcountyny.gov Nassau early voting locations and times can be found at nassaucountyny.gov
Voters can cast their ballots at the local polling place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Masks and social distancing will be required. To make sure you’re registered to vote and find your polling place visit voterlookup.elections.ny.gov
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