Getting out The Vote
Voting is one of the best ways we can make progress on issues that matter—yet voter participation in New York State is historically low. GOTV is an important opportunity for our communities to make a difference by ensuring that everyone’s voice is part of shaping the future.
This fall, there are federal, state and local offices on the ballot. You have three options to vote in the upcoming general elections in New York:
1. Vote by mail by requesting an absentee ballot online, by email, fax or postmarked mail by October 27.
Request an absentee ballot online:
2. Vote early between October 24-November 1. Find your early voting location.
3. Vote in person on November 3, 2020. Find your polling place or text MY VOTE to 69866.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What’s on the ballot on November 3rd?
There are federal, state and local offices on the ballot, including:
- Queens Borough President
- State Senate
- State Assembly
- NYC Council District 37
- NYS Supreme Court
- NYC Civil Courts
Am I eligible to vote?
To register to vote, you have to be:
- A citizen of the United States (born in the U.S. or naturalized). That includes people who were born in Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- A resident of New York State for at least 30 days before the election.
- At least 18 years of age by Election Day (that includes if you turn 18 on Election Day!)
- Not be in prison or on parole for a felony conviction (unless parolee pardoned or restored rights of citizenship)
How can I protect my health and still vote during the COVID-19 pandemic?
New York State is making necessary changes to ensure that voters are safe while participating in upcoming elections. This year, every registered voter will be able to vote by mail by requesting an absentee ballot. But you have to take action by October 27 in order to have a ballot sent to you.
If you live in NYC, there are several ways to request a ballot:
- Online at nycabsentee.com or votebymail.io
- Mail an application to your borough’s Board of Elections (the Board of Elections will mail an absentee ballot application to every eligible voter)
- Call 1.866.VOTE.NYC (1.866.868.3692)
- Email an application to Apply4Absentee@boe.nyc
- Fax an application to 212.487.5349
Your ballot will then be mailed to you at the address you include on your request.
The application must be completed and returned in order to receive a mail-in ballot. Voters can mark the reason for their request as “temporary illness,” which now covers the risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Don’t live in NYC? Use votebymail.io or learn more about absentee voting in New York State. You can also find your county board’s contact information at elections.ny.gov/CountyBoards.html, and contact them by phone, email, fax, mail or in person to request an absentee ballot.
Are there other reasons I can vote by absentee ballot?
You can vote by absentee ballot if you are a registered voter and cannot make it to your polling site on Election Day because of your:
- Incarceration (other than convicted felony), or
- Illness, disability, hospitalization or residence in a long-term care facility
Is there a difference between voting absentee and voting by mail?
Absentee voting allows you to vote by mail rather than going to the polls and casting your vote in person. All states allow people to cast their votes via mail-in or absentee ballots. Some, like New York, require voters to give a reason before allowing them to vote by mail.
When do I mail my absentee ballot back by?
When your ballot arrives, read it carefully and follow the instructions to complete it and return it. You should fill out and return your ballot as soon as possible. All ballots must be postmarked by November 3.
Can I request an absentee ballot in person?
Generally, yes, you can request a ballot in person by visiting your County Board of Elections. However, due to COVID-19, most County Board of Election Offices are closed to the public or are by appointment only. Find contact information for your County Board of Elections to request a ballot.
Can I vote early?
All registered voters can participate in early voting, which starts 10 days before Election Day. There are several benefits to voting early, including shorter wait times and less crowding at your polling site. The early voting period for the General Elections is October 24-November 1. Find your early voting polling location.
Can I vote on Election Day?
You can also vote in person on Election Day, November 3. On Election Day, poll sites are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Voters who are in line by 9 p.m. can cast a ballot. Please note that your polling location will take precautions to ensure that the site is clean and safe to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Also remember that wearing a mask, washing your hands or using hand sanitizer after touching surfaces in public spaces (including voting machines) is a smart way to stay healthy, whenever you vote. Find your polling place.
How can I stay up to date on elections with The Center?
Sign up to join our mobile advocacy network or text MY VOTE to 69866 so you never miss an opportunity to be heard. You’ll receive alerts about voter registration deadlines, election dates and other information on civic engagement.
I want to do more. How can I help?
Volunteer with The Center’s RiseOut Action Team to join our Get Out The Vote efforts, as we work to provide accurate voting information and underscore the importance of elections for our community.
The Center is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization. We do not endorse any political party or candidates.