League of Women Voters

New York Absentee Ballot Process

You are eligible for an absentee ballot if:

  • You are unavoidably absent from your county on Election Day
  • Unable to appear at the polls due to illness
  • disability a patient in a Veterans' Administration Hospital
  • Detained in jail awaiting grand jury action or confined in prison after conviction for an offense other than a felony.

Applications for absentee ballots are available from your county board of elections, and may also be available at hospitals, nursing homes, colleges, libraries, senior citizen centers, social service agencies, state government offices and from political parties. The applications can be downloaded from the NYS Board of Elections website. You may also request an absentee ballot by sending a letter to your county board of elections. The letter must be received by your county board no earlier than 30 days and no later than seven days before the election. The letter must contain the following information:

  • The address where you are registered
  • An address where the ballot is to be sent
  • The reason for the request
  • The signature of the voter

An application form will be mailed with your ballot. The application form must be completed and returned with your ballot. If you cannot pick up your ballot, or will not be able to receive it through the mail, you have the right to designate someone to pick it up for you. Only the person designated on your application may pick up and deliver your ballot. If you are permanently ill or disabled, you have the right to receive an absentee ballot for each subsequent election without further application. You should file an application with your board of elections containing a statement which describes the particulars of your illness or disability. The board will review the facts stated, and if satisfied, will mark your registration record. You will then automatically receive an absentee ballot for every election until your registration is canceled.

To be counted, an absentee ballot must be postmarked by the day before Election Day and must reach the board of elections no more than seven days after the election. If the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot by mail has passed and you cannot appear at the polls on Election Day because of an accident or sudden illness, then you may send a representative with an authorized letter to receive an absentee ballot application and absentee ballot and return both to the board of elections by 9:00 pm on Election Day at your borough office. You can find your board of elections information at the New York State Board of Elections. If you have further questions, please call the state board of elections at 518-474-6220.

Overseas citizens and U.S. military personnel can find information on how to register to vote and request an absentee ballot at the Overseas Vote Foundation.


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