Information for New York voters regarding the November 3, 2020 General Election

[Reproduced with permission from Environmental Education Fund,  The original site has an automated Google translation option, into many languages including Spanish]


October 9: Last day to register to vote. It can be done online, in person, or envelope postmarked.
October 27: Last day to postmark application for absentee ballot.
November 2: Last day to apply in person for absentee ballot.
November 3: Last day to postmark absentee ballot.
November 3: Last day to deliver absentee ballot in person at board of elections.

The Easiest Way to Vote in New York in the Nov 3, 2020 General Election

Register to vote by October 9.
Apply for an Absentee Ballot, fill it out, and mail it to your County Board of Elections or drop it off in person during early voting.

Mistakes that Stop You from Voting or Your Vote from Counting
  • Forgetting to sign your mail-in ballot.
  • The signature on your absentee ballot must match your previous signature. (If something has caused your handwriting to change, notify your county election office).
  • Forgetting to enclose the inner envelope in the outer envelope of the absentee ballot. 
  • Not registering to vote in time by October 9th.

Voter Registration:

➛ Check your voter registration status  

Register to vote/update your registration

Additional Options for Registering to Vote:  

  • If you are unable or unwilling to go to the county election office and you don’t have stamps and an envelope to mail in your voter registration form, ask your campus voting coordinator for help.

Register to Vote Online in Other States.

Online registration is available for 40 states plus the District of Columbia.

Early Voting in NY and Away From HOme

NY In-Person Early Voting October 24-November 1

In Person: Early voting locations

Mail in an Absentee Ballot or Return it In Person 

You will NOT automatically be sent an absentee ballot. If you want one, you must fill out an absentee ballot application.   

You can return your absentee ballot in person. If you send it by mail, your absentee ballots must be postmarked by November 3, to be counted. 

Apply to have an absentee ballot mailed to you in the following languages: 
English       Spanish       Chinese      Korean     Bengali

As of September 12, ballot drop boxes ARE NOT being made available for submission of absentee ballots.


How to Register and Vote When You Are Away From Home

The website,  How to Register and Vote.  has links that allow you to register and vote for most states, and Washington D.C wherever you are.

Track your ballot!

➛ Check the status of your Absentee Ballot Application
Check if an Absentee Ballot has been mailed out to you.

➛ Track your Ballot
Check if your mailed in ballot has been received. If it has not been received by election day, you can vote in person. The Board of Elections is required to check the poll book before canvassing any absentee ballot. If the voter comes to the poll site on Election Day or during early voting and votes in person, the absentee ballot is set aside and not counted. (source)

Election Day Voting, Tuesday, November 3

Voting sites (polls) will be open from 6 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Election Day.

If you are in line by the closing time then you must be allowed to vote.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can students vote at their temporary college address?
Students attending college in New York may register to vote in their school’s district after residing at the same address for at least 30 days. Alternatively, they may remain registered with their parents’ address and continue voting in home district elections with an absentee ballot.

2.  How can people who are away from home vote?

Eligible voters who are away from home can specify the address where their NY absentee ballot should be sent.  See “How to Apply for an Absentee Ballot.”

Voters from other states should see , How to Vote in Each Statefrom the US Election Assistance Commission.

The website,  How to Register and Vote  has links for you to register and to vote by Absentee Ballot for most states, and Washington D.C.

3.   What if I recently moved within NY?
If you move within NY State, you may need to re-register. In 2019, NY passed a law permitting statewide voter registration transfers, also known as “Registration Portability.” The law allows the Board of Elections to transfer your registration and enrollment information to wherever you move within the state. This enables you to vote on an affidavit (paper) ballot if you move to a new county even if it has not received your change of address information. Your affidavit ballot will be counted once the Board of Elections verifies your voter registration.

It is strongly recommended, however, that if you move, you still submit a voter registration form with your new information or visit MyDMV to change your registration online.

4.  What ID will I need to register to vote?
See the online registration form,  which is available from the NY Department of Motor Vehicles and the pdf registration form, which can be downloaded. It specifies what documentation you must provide:

  • ID Number from your NY  Driver License, Permit or Non-Driver ID
  • Document Number (what is the document number?) from your NY Driver License, Permit or Non-Driver ID
  • Last 4 digits of your social security number 

Visit a DMV office, or your County Board of Elections to register in person or register by mail if you:  

  • have a licence or permit from a different state
  • recently replaced your license, permit, or ID, and have not received the new one in the mail yet
  • have a temporary (interim) license, permit, or non-driver ID
  • cannot locate your Document Number.

5. What ID do I need to vote in person or by Absentee Ballot?
If you’ve voted in New York in person before, you don’t need to provide an ID to vote as long as your signature matches previous elections.

If you’re a first-time voter who registered by mail, and didn’t provide a copy of your ID with your registration, you may need to show ID to vote. ID can be: 1) a current and valid photo ID, or 2) a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.

If you are unable to provide ID, you should be able to vote using an affidavit ballot.

6. I am avoiding public spaces due to COVID-19.  Do I need an excuse to vote by absentee ballot?
NY voters who are reluctant to be in a public space due to Covid-19 can use an absentee ballot. One of the options for why you are requesting a  NY Absentee Ballot is:

  • Unable to appear at the polls due to temporary or permanent illness or disability (temporary illness includes being unable to appear due to risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease like COVID-19).

7. What if I don’t have stamps for the Absentee ballot? 
According to the New York Voter website, the voter must cover postage. Postage stamps can be purchased online from the United States Postal Service website, at a post office and at some grocery stores, banks, and pharmacies.  It has not yet been specified if you need one stamp or more.

Voters who can’t get their hands on a stamp may not be out of luck. Unlike regular mail that will be returned to the sender if sufficient postage is not paid, USPS has a policy that it will still deliver “short-paid and unpaid absentee balloting materials” classified as official election mail, according to its website.

However, don’t count on this policy. Try to get your ballot submitted using a stamp or in-person. Track you ballot to ensure it was received. You can still go to the polls and vote on election day if you have any concerns about yourabsentee ballot being counted.

8. What should voters in the military or overseas do?
Follow instructions at:

9. Where can I get information and assistance in other languages?  

10.  If I make a mistake on my Absentee Ballot can I get a new one?
Yes, contact your County Boards of Elections.

11.  If I request an absentee ballot, am I allowed to change my mind and vote in-person?
You can still vote in Person if you request an absentee ballot.  For more details, see 

12. How can I check where the accessible entrances are at  polling locations?  
Check the location of the accessible entrance at your polling site.

In addition, your county Board of Elections will mail a special postcard to registered voters prior to the election every year.  It will include the location of accessible entrances.

13. How do I know what will be on my ballot?
You can see a sample ballot for your community using this link.

14. Non-government information for NY voters:
➛ Vote 411-NY 
➛ Campus Vote Project
➛ NY League of Women Voters Guides

15.  Is it too late to fill out a census form?
No, the census has been extended until September 30. You can complete the census form here.

16.  NY State Voting Official Website and Contacts
Phone: NY State Board of Elections (518) 474-6220
Phone number for each County Boards of Elections
NY Voting Information

Updated on September 13, 2020

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