How to Vote in the 2020 Presidential Election
There are three ways to vote in the presidential election in 2020 in New York State—two in person, and one by absentee ballot. Voting absentee requires the most pre-planning: since the Postal Service has said it cannot guarantee timely delivery of absentee ballots applied for fewer than 15 days before the election on November 3rd, if you haven’t already applied for absentee by October 16th, you should consider early voting in person from October 24-November 1st. You can also drop off an absentee ballot at an early voting location if you are concerned about timely postal delivery. Finally, you can vote in person on Election Day on November 3rd. Here’s what you need to know about the three ways to vote:
- Check Registration. The first thing you should do is check you voter registration, even if you voted in the last election and know for sure that you were previously registered. Strange things can happen to voter rolls, as 126,000 Brooklyn voters discovered when they went to the polls in 2016 only to discover that they had been purged. You can check your registration at voterlookup.elections.ny.gov. If you need to register, you can do so online through the Department of Motor Vehicles or apply in person at any DMV’s office. You can also call the New York State Board of Elections Voter Registration Hotline at 1800-FOR-VOTE to request a registration application. The deadline to register to vote online or in person is October 9th.
- Absentee Ballots. You can apply for an absentee ballot by mail, phone, email, fax or online. When selecting a reason for request for absentee ballot, you may say “temporary illness” if you are concerned about in-person voting due to COVID-19. You may apply through the Westchester County Board of Elections or online through the New York State Board of Elections. You can also call 914-995-5258 or 5291 or by email at BOE-WestAbsentee@westchestergov.com. When applying by email, you must include the name and date of birth of voter, address where registered, address where the ballot is to be sent and reason for the request (“temporary illness” for COVID-19 precautions.) The deadline to apply is no later than October 27th, 2020, but as previously mentioned the postal service will not guarantee delivery for ballots applied for 15 days before an election, so plan in advance. You can also drop off your absentee ballot at an early voting location October 24-November 1st, or your polling place on Election Day, or to your Board of Elections office.
- Early In-Person Voting. Registered voters in Westchester County can vote in person from October 24-November 1st at 17 different locations in the county, including at New Rochelle City Hall Annex, Eastchester Public Library, and Yonkers Riverfront and Grinton I. Will Libraries. However, hours are limited and depend on the date. You can look up early voting locations and hours at https://citizenparticipation.westchestergov.com/voting/early-voting-2020. For more information about early voting in New York State, you can also go to https://www.voteearlyny.org/.
- Election Day In-Person Voting. Unlike with early voting locations, on Election Day itself you can only vote at your designated polling place. You can look up your polling place at voterlookup.elections.ny.gov.
For more information, you can consult The League of Women Voters Westchester. To learn more about your voting rights, visit the ACLU of New York at https://www.nyclu.org/en/issues/voting/your-rights-voting-info.