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Voting Timeline: 2020 Election At A Glance

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SEPTEMBER 1: ABSENTEE BALLOT REQUEST PORTAL OPENS

All New York State voters can request an absentee ballot via the state's new online portal, which launched on September 1. Election reform laws passed in August of 2020 allow any registered voter to request an absentee ballot due to risk of illness, including COVID-19. Voters technically have until October 27 to request absentee ballots in writing or online, or until November 2 if they apply in person at their local Board of Elections. But the October 27 deadline may not leave enough time for postal delays this year. Local officials say that if you plan to request an absentee ballot, you should do so by October 12.

SEPTEMBER 9: BALLOTS CERTIFIED BY NEW YORK STATE

According to state law (§ 4–112), the New York State Board of Elections has until the 55th day before a general election to certify to county Boards of Election the federal and state candidates who will appear on the ballot.

SEPTEMBER 10: BALLOTS CERTIFIED BY COUNTY BOARDS

The due date for local county Boards of Elections to certify ballots fell the day after the due date for the New York State Board of Elections to certify candidates in larger races to the county boards (§ 4–114). Only after the county Boards of Elections have certified local ballots can they be made available to voters.

SEPTEMBER 15: VILLAGE ELECTIONS

Village elections in New York, most of which are held in March, were delayed by executive order until September 15 this year.

SEPTEMBER 18: BALLOTS MAILED TO VOTERS

Around September 18, the first county Boards of Elections began mailing absentee ballots to voters who have requested them. This was also around the time when local Boards of Elections began posting sample ballots on their websites.OCTOBER 9

DEADLINE TO REGISTER TO VOTE IN NEW YORK STATE

If you are not registered to vote in New York State, you have until October 9 to register either by mail or in person to vote in the general election. Your registration must be received by a Board of Elections by October 14 in order for you to be eligible to vote on November 3.

OCTOBER 12: DEADLINE FOR REQUESTING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT

By October 12, if you plan to request an absentee ballot and haven't done so yet, you should. Local election commissioners urge voters to get their requests in well ahead of the October 27 deadline set by state law, to allow for this year's unprecedented postal delays. You can request an absentee ballot online through the New York State portal.

OCTOBER 24-NOVEMBER 1: EARLY VOTING

Early voting is still pretty new in New York State: An election reform law passed in 2019 allows all eligible New York voters to cast a ballot in person at an early voting poll site the week before an election. The 2020 early voting period runs from October 24 through November 1.

OCTOBER 27: DEADLINE TO REQUEST AN ABSENTEE BALLOT

Voters technically have until October 27 to request absentee ballots in writing or online, or until November 2 if they apply in person at their local Board of Elections. But the Post Office has warned that the October 27 deadline may not leave enough time for postal delays this year. Local officials say that if you plan to request an absentee ballot, you should do so by October 12.

NOVEMBER 3: ELECTION DAY

On Election Day, polls will be open from 6am to 9pm. November 3 is also the deadline for sending an absentee ballot. Make sure your ballot is postmarked by November 3, or you can bring it in person to a poll site or your local Board of Elections office by 9pm. Be prepared to wait awhile to find out who won: This year, the sheer number of absentee ballots, and the prospect of partisan differences in whether people vote in person or by mail, mean it may be weeks before we know the outcomes of federal, state, and local races.

NOVEMBER 10: DEADLINE FOR RECEIVING BALLOTS

To be counted in the general election, all ballots must be received by local Boards of Elections by November 10.

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