It’s less than a month until Election Day 2020, and if you’re wondering how to participate, we’re here to help.
Voting is a pillar of our democracy, a privilege that has been tirelessly fought for by different groups over American history to exercise their voice in their own government.
Of course, this year is quite momentous, with a decisive Presidential election and a different process due to COVID-19, making it all the more important to make sure your say is recorded.
Here’s what you need to know about exercising your right to vote here in NYC or NY State:
Registering To Vote
The first thing you have to do in order to vote is to make sure you are registered. You can do so using this tool here (Click “Voter Registration Status” and then enter your state and it will bring you to that voter look-up page).
If you are not registered, you must do so before your state’s deadline in order to exercise your right to vote in November. New York State’s deadline is this Friday, October 9, so you must do so by then in order to vote in next month’s election.
You can register in NY State at NY.gov/registertovote.
Mail-In Ballot Voting
This year, in NY State, anyone can vote by mail (or, with an absentee ballot) due to COVID-19. You will have to apply for an absentee ballot online here (just check “temporary illness” under the reasons section, which now covers potential spread of COVID-19). You can also track it to see when it is approved and to see when you will receive it by.
You must postmark, apply online, email or fax the completed application for the General Absentee ballot by October 27, 2020. You may also apply in-person by November 2, 2020. Ballots have already started being mailed as of Sept. 18.
Your ballot must be postmarked by Election Day and must reach the Board of Elections no more than 7 days after the election to be counted. Still, it is recommended you send it out as soon as possible in case there are any delays.
And this year, you can also drop your mail-in ballot off at any election site or at early voting site. Find those here.
Besides just voting in-person on Election Day itself, you can also vote early in-person. Early voting in New York begins on Saturday, October 24 and lasts through Sunday, November 1.
Your early voting poll site may be different than your Election Day polling site, so be sure to double-check it here.
Election Day Voting
On Tuesday, November 3rd, you can vote in-person at your assigned polling site (see more on that below) between 6am and 9pm. There are also added rules due to COVID-19, like you must be wearing a face mask and maintain six feet of distancing.
Here is how voting will work in person, according to NYC.gov:
Step 1: Go to the poll site for your registered home address. If you’re a first-time registered voter who didn’t provide your identification when you registered, you need to show an acceptable form of ID.
Step 2: A poll worker will look up your name on the list of registered voters.
Step 3: After you sign your name in the poll book, you’ll be given a paper ballot and directed to a privacy booth.
Step 4: Mark the ballot with your choices using the pen provided.
Step 5: Take your ballot to the scanner area and insert your marked ballot in the scanner to cast your vote.
Step 6: The scanner will record your vote. When the polls close, the scanners will be used to count all votes cast on Election Day.
Finding Your Polling Center
In order to vote on Election Day, you must make sure you go to the correct polling site that is assigned to you based on where you live. You can find that out here at Vote.NYC.
See also: Madison Square Garden Will Be A Presidential Election Polling Site For The First Time Ever
featured image source: Unsplash