Issues Executive Order Requiring All Boards Of Elections To Develop A Plan To Allow Registered Voters To Drop Off A Completed Absentee Ballot At A Board Of Elections, Early Voting Location, Or Election Day Voting Location Without Requiring They Wait In Line With In-Person Voters
All Boards of Elections Must Develop and Submit a Plan to the State Board of Elections by September 21st and Make It Publicly Available
Voters Can Learn More About Absentee Voting And Early Voting In New York By Visiting ny.gov/earlyvote
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a public awareness campaign to ensure New Yorkers know all the ways they can vote in November's election, including voting early, voting absentee, or voting in person on Election Day. The Governor issued an executive order requiring boards of elections develop a plan to allow a registered voter to drop off a completed absentee ballot at a board of elections, early voting location, or election day voting location, without requiring they wait in line with in-person voters, to help minimize delays during in-person voting and promote contactless voting.
Plans must be submitted to the State Board of Elections by September 21, 2020, and made publicly available in the county board of elections office and on their website when submitted.
"Because of COVID, this year New Yorkers have several options when it comes to casting their ballot. You can vote early, vote absentee, or vote in person on election day, and I am issuing an executive order to ensure boards of elections have plans in place to safely receive the anticipated additional volume of absentee ballots through in person return," Governor Cuomo said. "To say this election is the most critical in recent history is understating its importance. We want to make sure every vote in New York is counted and every voice is heard."
Absentee ballots can be dropped to county boards of elections offices as soon as voters receive their ballot; any early voting location between October 24th and November 1st; and at polling locations on Election Day. By dropping off an absentee ballot at a county board of elections office, early voting site or polling location, New Yorkers can avoid Post Office delays and the need for a stamp.
Most New Yorkers can now request an absentee ballot for the first time under a new law the Governor signed expanding eligibility to all voters who have concerns regarding COVID-19. They should check the "temporary illness" box on their absentee ballot application. To learn more about absentee voting and early voting in New York, visit ny.gov/earlyvote.
Given an expected unprecedented increase in the use of absentee ballots and concerns about the reliability of the United States Postal Service, today's executive order ensures an expedited, dedicated line for returning absentee ballots in-person, or a contactless drop box in every county.
Today's announcement comes on the heels of several sweeping election reform steps taken by the Governor in advance of the November 3rd election.
On August 20, Governor Cuomo signed into law a three-part election reform package to make it easier for New Yorkers to vote and be counted in November, including: allowing absentee ballot applications to be submitted to a board of elections immediately; expanding the necessary protections to allow a voter to get an absentee ballot due to risk or fear of illness including COVID-19 and; ensuring all absentee ballots postmarked on or before Election Day or received by a board of elections without a postmark on the day after the election will be counted. Ballots with a postmark demonstrating that they were mailed on or before Election Day will be counted if received by November 10.
On August 24, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order to further bolster and support New Yorker's right to vote by requiring county boards of elections to take the following actions:
- Send a mailing outlining all deadlines for voters by Tuesday, September 8.
- Send staffing plans and needs to the New York State Board of Elections by September 20 so BOE can assist in ensuring adequate coverage.
- Adopt a uniform clarified envelope for absentee ballots and require counties to use it.
- Count votes faster: require all objections to be made by the county board in real time, make sure that boards are ready to count votes and reconcile affidavit and absentee ballots by 48 hours after elections.
- Provide an option for New Yorkers to vote absentee in village, town and special district elections.