The 2020 election will be unlike any other. Curious about how you can cast your ballot this November? We’ve got all the information you need to know below.
This election you can vote absentee, vote early, or vote on Election Day.
Don’t forget these key deadlines for the November election.
- The deadline to register to vote is Friday, October 9.
- The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Tuesday, October 27
- The deadline to mail or drop off your absentee ballot is Tuesday, November 3 (Election Day)
- Early voting runs from Saturday, October 24 – Sunday, November 1
- Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, and the polls are open from 6 am – 9 pm
Frequently Asked Questions
- Requesting an absentee ballot
- How do I apply for an absentee ballot (vote-by-mail)?
- What reason should I select on my absentee ballot application form?
- If I voted by mail during the June primaries, do I still need to request a ballot?
- What is the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot?
- When will my absentee ballot be mailed to me?
- Can I track my absentee ballot?
- What should I do if my absentee ballot did not arrive on time?
- Returning Your Absentee Ballot
- I received an absentee ballot that says Official Absentee Military Ballot but I am not in the military
- I received an absentee envelope with the wrong name/address
- What should I do with my absentee ballot?
- Do I need to put stamps on my absentee ballot envelope?
- How do I return my ballot?
- Can someone else drop off my ballot?
- If I damage my ballot or the ballot envelope, can I get a new one?
- Can I vote in-person if I requested an absentee ballot?
- Can I vote in-person if I returned my absentee ballot?
- I’m worried about my absentee ballot not being postmarked or arriving late, and it not being counted.
- I’m worried about my absentee ballot being invalidated for small technical errors.
- Voting Early
- Voting on Election Day
- Counting the Votes
- Register to Vote
If you want to vote by mail, you must first request an absentee ballot. The easiest and quickest way to request an absentee ballot is online at https://nycabsentee.com/, or by calling 1-866-VOTE-NYC (1-866-868-3692). You can also download and complete the application form (available in other languages here), and submit it by email to [email protected], by fax to 212-487-5349, or by mail to your local borough office. Applying online is the fastest way to get your absentee ballot.
If you are registered to vote outside of New York City, you can apply to register online at https://absenteeballot.elections.ny.gov/
You can choose “Temporary illness or disability,” which includes the risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Yes, unless you are already on the permanent absentee voter list due to a long-term disability or illness.
Your completed absentee ballot application must be submitted by October 27, 2020, whether it is postmarked by that date, entered online, emailed, or faxed.
However, given the current circumstances of the US Postal Service and recent experience in the Primary Election, it is highly recommended to apply as soon as possible, or at least 15 days before the election. If you apply later, your absentee ballot may not arrive in time for the election.
The Board of Elections will mail ballots to voters who request them on a rolling basis beginning on September 18, 2020.
Yes! Once you submit your application, you will receive a six-digit code that can be used to check the status of your absentee ballot application and to track your ballot. Use this website to track your ballot.
If you do not receive your absentee ballot on time, you can vote in person during the Early Voting period or on Election Day. You can vote in person even if you applied to vote absentee.
I received an absentee ballot that says “Official Absentee Military Ballot” but I am not in the military.
This is the correct ballot even if you are not serving in the military. It’s valid and your vote will count. Usually, this is titled an “Official Absentee/Military Ballot,” but due to a printing error, the backslash was left out.
Check to make sure your name or address is on your ballot envelope – the inner “oath” envelope where voters need to date and sign for their vote to count. If it is not, DO NOT return your ballot. The Board of Elections will automatically send you a new ballot package.
There was an error with the vendor who prints absentee ballots for Brooklyn and Queens, and voters are receiving absentee envelopes with the wrong name or address on the inner envelope (“security” or “oath” envelope). The BOE is resending ballots with corrected envelopes to the 100,000 Brooklyn voters who may have been affected.
Note: Even voters whose initial ballot envelope was fine will likely receive a new ballot, because the BOE and the vendor are not able to isolate the problem to specific individuals. We will update when more information arrives.
Make sure to follow the instructions on the ballot, put it in the appropriate envelope, sign the back of that inner (“security” or “oath”) envelope, and seal the envelope. Do not make any extraneous marks on the ballot or it might not be counted. Put that envelope in the return envelope and seal the return envelope. Don’t forget to sign the inner envelope – a missing signature is one of the most common reasons for disqualifying ballots.
Yes! Unlike the June primary, you must put stamps on your absentee ballot return envelope. We recommend for all voters in NYC to put two stamps on the return envelope.
However, if you decide to drop off your absentee ballot at a drop-off box (see next question for details), you do not have to samp it.
You may return your ballot by mail or by dropping it off at designated locations. If you decide to mail it, the envelope must be postmarked by Tuesday, November 3 (Election Day), and received in the Board of Elections by November 10. Ballots that lack a postmark but are received by the Board of Election the day after Election Day will also be counted. However, we recommend mailing your ballot as soon as you have completed it. Thousands of Primary Election ballots were not counted because they arrived too late at the Board of Elections.
You can also return your ballot by dropping it off at a number of locations, without waiting in line. From now until Election Day you may drop your ballot at any of the six offices of the Board of Elections, from 9 am to 5 pm. See their locations here. During the Early Voting period (October 24 – November 1), you can drop off your absentee ballot at any early voting polling site. On Election Day, you can drop off your absentee ballot in any polling site. You won’t have to wait in line to vote to drop off your ballot in the drop-off box.
Yes. If you can not or do not want to mail your ballot, you should know that anyone (including a neighbor, friend, or family member) can drop off your absentee ballot for you at any poll site during the Early Voting period or on Election Day
You can contact the Board of Elections at 1-866-VOTE-NYC or [email protected], explain the situation, and request a new ballot. Or, you can vote in person.
Yes! You can still vote early in person (October 24th-November 1st) or on Election Day if you request an absentee ballot. Your early voting site may be different from your normal poll site, so make sure to check your early voting polling site before you go.
Yes! Under New York law, your in-person vote will count and your absentee ballot will be invalidated. When absentee votes are counted, the Board of Elections and representatives of both major parties compare the list of in-person voters and absentee voters, and disregard all absentee envelopes of in-person voters.
I’m worried about my absentee ballot not being postmarked or arriving late, and it not being counted.
In the June Primary, thousands of ballots were not counted because their envelope was not postmarked. In July, the New York law was changed so that even if a ballot is not postmarked, it will be counted if received in the Board of Elections by the day after the election (November 4). If you are concerned that your ballot is being mailed too late to be timely postmarked, please take it to the post office and ask for a postmark, instead of dropping it in a street mailbox. You can also drop it off at a polling place on Election Day or during the Early Voting period.
This election, voters will get additional protections from their ballots being invalidated for small errors, after a settlement was reached in a lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters. Voters absentee ballots will no longer be disqualified if they complete their ballot in non black or blue ink, mark outside the designated areas, or seal the inner ballot envelope (also called an affirmation envelope) with tape or other sealing agent.
Early Voting for the General Election runs from October 24, 2020 – November 1, 2020. All registered voters can participate in early voting, which starts 10 days before Election Day. Benefits include shorter wait times and less crowding at the polls. In the primaries this June, just 5% of voters chose to vote early! You can find your early voting site and opening hours here.
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. All poll sites are open from 6 am – 9 pm. If you are in line to vote by 9 pm you are entitled to vote, even if crowding requires you to wait past the set poll close time.
To find out what races you will be voting for, visit http://whosontheballot.org/.
Counting the Votes
This year, New Yorkers will likely not know the results of the election on election night. Under New York law, absentee ballots – expected to take the largest share of ballots cast in this election – will only be counted a week after Election Day. Counting those ballots takes longer than regular ballots due to extra security measures meant to ensure the integrity of the election.
If there was a problem with my absentee ballot and it was not accepted by the Board of Elections, can I fix the problem?
Yes. A new law allows you to cure the following defects: (1) the ballot is unsigned; (2) the signature doesn’t match your registration signature; (3) there is no affirmation envelope within the return envelope; (4) there was no witness signature for voters who had assistance completing their ballot, or there was only witness signature and no voter signature; or (5) the affirmation envelope was signed by someone else other than the voter.
The Board of Elections will promptly contact you by phone or email, or if that’s not possible by mail, with a notice of the defect and the procedure to fix the problem. You will also see a relevant notice in the absentee tracking portal. If your ballot was not sealed, and thus invalid, the Board will contact you to give you other options to vote or, if time permits, will send you another absentee ballot.
Before absentee ballots are counted, a bi-partisan team of Board of Elections staff and representatives of candidates reviews all absentee envelopes to determine whether they meet New York law requirements. One of the first things they check is whether the person voted in person. If so, the absentee ballot is put aside and not counted.
To vote in the November election, you must be a registered voter. The voter registration deadline is Friday, October 9.
If you have a New York State driver’s license or another valid state photo ID, you can register to vote online.
If you don’t have a state photo ID, you can register to vote by printing a paper application (English; Spanish) and mailing it to your county board of elections. If you live in New York City, you can also use a new online service that makes it easy to register to vote. Visit nycvotes.turbovote.org and fill out a registration form online, which will then be mailed to you for a wet signature and include a pre-paid return envelope.
Check here to see if you are registered to vote in NYC