Everything You Need to Know Ahead of Election Day (Including How to Vote Early)

how to vote new york

We’re less than two weeks away from the 2020 election, and it’s vital that you make your voice heard. Here’s what you need to know about voting in New York. 

The deadlines

Tuesday, October 27: The last day voters can request absentee ballots online, by email, fax or mail, or by calling your local board of elections.

Monday, November 2: Voters can apply for an absentee ballot in person by this date.

Tuesday, November 3: Election Day. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by this date or you can also vote in person (more on that below).

How to check if you’re registered to vote

Not sure if you’re registered to vote? Check your registration status here. (Hopefully, the answer is yes, because the registration deadline was October 9.)

Absentee ballots

If you’re going to be out of your county on Election Day or if you have an illness or disability that prevents you from going to the polls, then you have the option to vote by mail. (FYI: This year, most voters in New York state should be able to get an absentee ballot since the risk of contracting or spreading Covid-19 qualifies as a temporary illness.) You can request your absentee ballot here anytime between now and October 27. The deadline to send your absentee ballot in is November 3.

How to vote early

New Yorkers can vote early and in-person before Election Day from Saturday, October 24 to Sunday, November 1. Note: Not all polling sites will open for early voting—the locations and times will depend on where you live. Voters in New York City can find out when and where they can vote early here and those outside of NYC can find a list of early voting sites and ballot drop boxes here.

How to vote on Election Day

If you want to vote on Election Day (reminder: November 3) then you can head to the polls between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Find out where to go to vote on New York's elections site.

What to bring: You won’t need to bring an ID with you as long as you provided one when you registered. But if you’re a first-time voter and you didn’t send a proof of ID with your registration form, bring one of the following: a current and valid photo ID; or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.

How to prepare: Make the whole process smoother by checking out a sample ballot before hitting the polls. Find your sample ballot on your county board of elections website. This will tell you everything you’ll be able to vote for. While you don’t have to vote for every single item on the ballot (you’re allowed to leave items blank), local elections are important, so it’s worth checking out what’s on there ahead of time. Pro tip: Fill out your sample ballot and then bring it with you (or take a screenshot on your phone) to the polls on Election Day.

Note: Due to COVID-19, in-person services may have limited availability. Contact your local election office to confirm. 

Worried that your vote won’t count?

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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...