- By New York State Governor's Office
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a public awareness campaign Tuesday to ensure New Yorkers know all the ways they can vote in November's election, including voting early, voting absentee, or voting in person on Election Day. The Governor issued an executive order requiring boards of elections develop a plan to allow a registered voter to drop off a completed absentee ballot at a board of elections, early voting location, or election day voting location, without requiring they wait in line with in-person voters, to help minimize delays during in-person voting and promote contactless voting.
Additionally, New York's absentee ballot portal was launched last week, where voters can directly request an absentee ballot for the upcoming November 3rd election. The Governor acted by Executive Order to allow any voter concerned about risk or exposure to COVID during the ongoing pandemic to request an absentee ballot.
Plans must be submitted to the State Board of Elections by September 21, 2020, and made publicly available in the county board of elections office and on their website when submitted.
"Because of COVID, this year New Yorkers have several options when it comes to casting their ballot. You can vote early, vote absentee, or vote in person on election day, and I am issuing an executive order to ensure boards of elections have plans in place to safely receive the anticipated additional volume of absentee ballots through in person return," Cuomo said. "To say this election is the most critical in recent history is understating its importance. We want to make sure every vote in New York is counted and every voice is heard."
Absentee ballots can be dropped to county boards of elections offices as soon as voters receive their ballot; any early voting location between October 24th and November 1st; and at polling locations on Election Day. By dropping off an absentee ballot at a county board of elections office, early voting site or polling location, New Yorkers can avoid Post Office delays and the need for a stamp.
Most New Yorkers can now request an absentee ballot for the first time under a new law the Governor signed expanding eligibility to all voters who have concerns regarding COVID-19. They should check the 'temporary illness' box on their absentee ballot application. To learn more about absentee voting and early voting in New York, visit ny.gov/earlyvote.
Given an expected unprecedented increase in the use of absentee ballots and concerns about the reliability of the United States Postal Service, today's executive order ensures an expedited, dedicated line for returning absentee ballots in-person, or a contactless drop box in every county.