The League of NYS “urge[s] the legislature to pass legislation mandating counties use ballot tracking software and ensure that ballots are not thrown out because of stray marks and the improper sealing of an absentee ballot’s inner envelope.
We would further urge the legislature to provide funding to county boards of elections so that all voters can be sent an absentee voting request form, and that both the request form and absentee ballot return envelopes include pre-paid postage.
In addition to these absentee voting expansions, we would urge county boards of election to expand early voting poll sites and hours so that voters have ample opportunity to vote early and avoid long lines on election day.” Testimony to Joint Standing Committees on Election Law and Local Government of the NYS Senate and Assembly, August 2020
In NYS, you must first request an absentee ballot application and then a ballot will be mailed to you. You then complete and mail the ballot to your county Board of Elections (Nassau County Board of Elections)
Until November 2022, when Ballot Proposal #1 to amend the NYS Constitution to allow “no-excuse absentee ballots” failed to pass, “no-excuse absentee ballots” were permitted by an executive order from the Governor during the COVID-19 pandemic. In January 2022, legislation is being introduced to extend this for school district elections this spring and primary elections (state and federal races) in June but has not yet been enacted. If it is enacted (or extended by executive order), voters can select, under #1 on the application, “temporary illness or physical disability” as their reason for requesting to vote by absentee ballot. These measures expand the definition of “temporary illness” to include the risk of contracting the coronavirus. The form can be printed, completed, signed, and mailed back to your county Board of Elections. You can find contact information for your county Board of Elections here:
Voters who do not have internet access or a printer can call their Board of Elections and request that they mail them a paper application.
Voters who do not have access to a printer, but do have computer access, can request an absentee ballot electronically by submitting an absentee ballot application by FAX or email. Email applications from an individual can have an application attached to it. This would allow a Board to complete the review process prior to issuing the absentee ballot to identify the voter and the reason for the ballot.
Call your county board of elections (find your county BOE phone number at: https://www.elections.ny.gov/CountyBoards.html) to find out their
procedure for applying for an absentee ballot application electronically.
Absentee ballots will be sent to the voter’s residence address unless otherwise requested by the voter. Delivery of absentee ballots to voters still remains the same, via mail or in person. There is no change in the return methods. The ballot must still be sent back by mail or returned in person by a specific deadline (see below.)
After applying for an absentee ballot, you will receive:
1. Absentee Ballot: must be filled out (no signature here) and inserted
2. Ballot Envelope: Must be sealed, then signed and dated and inserted
3. Pre-addressed Return Envelope: Must add your own postage
Your absentee ballot materials will be sent to you at least 32 days before federal, state, county, city or town elections in which you are eligible to vote. If you applied after this date, your ballot will be sent immediately after your completed application is received and processed by your local Board of Elections. Complete the ballot, SIGN THE ENVELOPE PROVIDED, and mail to your county Board of Elections. The voter’s
signature on the return envelope will be used to validate the ballot..
You will need to put a stamp on the return envelope when you mail your ballot to the county Board of Elections. You must use the return envelope provided with the ballot, sign the back of the envelope and provide postage. Postage probably is more than just one stamp. Voters should check with their county Board of Elections’ website or call them to inquire as to the postage required. As more details emerge, we will share on this website.
Voters can request their ballot be sent to an alternative address on their absentee ballot application. Voters who are currently forwarding their mail to another address should contact their county Board of Elections to ensure that they are still on their voter rolls.
You may sign the absentee ballot application yourself, or you may make your mark and have your mark witnessed in the spaces provided on the bottom of the application. Please note that a power of attorney or printed name stamp is not allowed for any voting purpose. For more information about voting absentee with a disability, please contact your county Board of Elections.
When mailing your completed ballot, the USPS recommends that voters allow enough time for ballots to be returned to the Board, which is generally seven days ahead of the general election. Voters who mail in their ballots on Election Day must be aware of the posted collection times on collection boxes and at the Postal Service’s retail facilities, and that ballots entered after the last posted collection time will not be postmarked until the following business day.
Even if you request or cast and return an absentee ballot, you may still go to the polls and vote in person. The Election Law recognizes that plans change. 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.
There are certain errors or problems that can occur when a voter completes an absentee ballot envelope. Many of these errors or problems are curable by means of filing a cure statement with your board of elections. If your ballot envelope has a curable defect, you will receive a notice from the board of elections. The cure process is described here ( pdf 105KB)
Applications requesting to receive an absentee ballot by mail must be received by the board of elections in your county no later than fifteen days before the election. For absentee ballots to be received in-person, applications must be received by your board no later than the day before the election.