N.Y.: Absentee voting, a how-to

March 21, 2022

Are you unable to get to the polls on Election Day? Did you know that you always can vote before Election Day through an absentee ballot or utilize your county’s early voting window?

Both options are open to all voters in New York.

Early voting

Early voting is a two-week period before the primary elections and the general election (i.e., Election Day) when voters can go to a physical voting location to cast their votes. However, this isn’t necessarily the same location voters would use on Election Day. Voters can find their counties’ voting locations on their local county board of elections website, along with their voting locations’ hours of operation.

The early-voting window for the 2022 primary elections is June 18-26, 2022. The primary elections are on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

The early-voting window for Election Day is Oct. 29-Nov. 6, 2022. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

Absentee voting

Anyone can participate in early voting. However, to vote absentee, voters must meet one of the following criteria. They must be:

  1. absent from their county or borough (if they are a New York City resident), on Election Day;
  2. unable to appear at the polls due to temporary or permanent illness or disability (which includes being unable to appear due to risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease like COVID-19);
  3. unable to appear because they are a primary care giver to one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled;
  4. a resident or patient of a Veterans Health Administration Hospital; and/or
  5. detained in jail awaiting Grand Jury action, or confined in prison after conviction for an offense other than a felony.

Voters who meet one of these criterion can apply for an absentee ballot by taking a completed application to their county board of elections, or they can designate another person on their application to pick up the absentee ballot on their behalf.

Additionally, voters can mail their applications and receive their absentee ballots by mail, but applications must be received by county boards of election no later than 15 days before the primary elections or Election Day. This year, absentee-ballot applications are due Monday, June 13, 2022, for the primary elections, and Monday, Oct. 24, 2022, for Election Day.

Keep in mind that if you request an absentee ballot, you can no longer vote by machine during early voting or on Election Day. People who request absentee ballots must vote absentee or they can complete an affidavit ballot at an early voting polling site or on Election Day. This is a change from in the past when people could go to the polls and vote regularly if they had requested an absentee ballot, so be sure that if you request an absentee ballot that is how you want to vote.

How to cast an absentee ballot

  1. After receiving the ballot, mark it according to your choices for each office following the instructions on the ballot.
  2. Once the ballot is marked, fold it and place it in the Security Envelope. (This envelope will have a place for your signature.)
  3. Sign and date the outside of the Security Envelope.
  4. Seal the Security Envelope.
  5. Place the Security Envelope in the Return Envelope. (This envelope will be labeled with the return address of the applicable county Board of Elections office, and should have a logo that reads, “Official Election Mail”).
  6. Seal the Return Envelope.

Voters can return the ballot in any of the following ways:

For the primary elections this June:

  1.  Put it in the mail and ensure that it is postmarked for no later than Tuesday, June 28, 2022.
  2.  Bring it to the applicable county Board of Elections office no later than Tuesday, June 28, 2022, by 9 p.m.
  3.  Bring it to the appropriate early-voting location between June 18-26, 2022.
  4.  Bring it to a poll site on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, by 9 p.m.

For Election Day this November:

  1.  Put it in the mail and ensure it is postmarked for no later than Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.
  2.  Bring it to the applicable county Board of Elections office no later than Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, by 9 p.m.
  3.  Bring it to the appropriate early-voting location between Oct. 29-Nov. 6, 2022.
  4.  Bring it to a poll site on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, by 9 p.m.

Get involved

If you want to get involved with PIANY’s legislative and advocacy work, there are many ways to engage with the association:

About the author…

Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez, Ph.D.

Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez, Ph.D., joined PIA’s Government & Industry Affairs team in 2018 as government and industry affairs specialist. Now, as the PAC coordinator & public policy analyst, she is responsible for managing political action committees in New York and New Jersey; tracking legislation and regulations; helping manage the association’s advocacy initiatives throughout the Northeast states; and drafting position statements and testimonies. Kat previously worked as a Senate fellow for the New York State Senate Fellowship Program; as well as an instructor of public policy at the State University of Albany, Albany, N.Y. She also worked as a senior research aid and assistant for the SUNY Research Foundation, Albany, N.Y. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the State University of Albany, Albany, N.Y., in May 2020. She also has her Master of Arts from SUNY Albany and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Elmira College, Elmira, N.Y.

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