It’s less than three weeks until Election Day.
Assuming you heeded our warning to register to vote by last Friday, you’re in the game.
Now you need a game plan.
A voting game plan.
In past years, most people’s plan involved deciding whether to vote before work, during lunch or after work. For this year’s election, you’ve got other choices.
Decide now what you’re going to do.
One of the options you can take advantage of now is voting by absentee ballot, or mail-in ballot. Because of the coronavirus, New York is allowing virtually anyone to vote by mail. If you fear getting coronavirus by going to the polls in person, that’s your reason.
Voting by mail is a bit more involved than your other two options – voting early and voting on Election Day, Nov. 3.
Because of the anticipated high volume of mail due to the number of mail-in ballots, you need to ensure your absentee ballot has enough time to get to you, then get from your house to the Board of Elections. Request a mail-in ballot today.
You have until Oct. 27 to apply for one online, by email or fax, or to postmark an application or letter of application by mail. That’s cutting it close. Don’t wait.
The deadline for postmarking your ballot is Nov. 3. But even with the postmark, it has to arrive at the Board of Elections by Nov. 10 to count. Again, with the volume of mail, mailing it on or around the postmark day is risky.
If you wait too long, it might not get there in time. If you decide to wait, it might be safer to deliver it in person to the Board of Elections.
OK, so assume you have your ballot.
Make sure you take the time to read the instructions so you don’t screw it up and invalidate it. You want your vote to count.
There are two envelopes. This is for security reasons. Fill out your ballot and put it in the little envelope, then sign and date the back and seal it. Make sure you sign it! Then take that envelope and put it in the mailing envelope, which is pre-stamped and pre-addressed. Then mail it.
But say you want to vote in person.
In most counties, you can vote early on any of nine days from Oct. 24 – Nov. 1. But hours are limited. The link below lets you click on your county for times and dates.
The procedure for voting early is the same as voting on Election Day.
You also can vote on Election Day from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at your local polling place.
If you need more instructions or want more details about mail-in voting, early voting, deadlines and other issues, visit: https://www.ny.gov/early-voting-and-absentee-voting-mail-or-dropbox.
But don’t wait. Time is running out.
Make a game plan. Make it today.