US ELECTIONS 2020

Early voting in NYC: dates, how to vote and where to find locations near me

New Yorkers have begun to cast their ballots in early voting for the first time in the 2020 presidential election as voting got under way on 24 October.

Early voting in NYC: dates, how to vote and where to find locations near me
ANDREW KELLY REUTERS

Early voting started on Saturday with record numbers of New Yorkers going to the polls to get their votes counted some having to wait in long lines for up to five hours. Early voting is new to the state as New York became one of the last states in the US to allow for early voting enacting the legislation in 2019. Early voting will be available to the New York voters until 1 November, after that they will have to wait for 3 November to cast their ballot on Election Day.

To know when and where you can vote early check the official New York information here. Voters in New York City must go to assigned polling sites, unlike New Yorkers in the rest of the state who can go to any voting location in their county. Times vary from one poling location to another. The early voting location may be different from your regular site so be sure to look up the location beforehand.

Whether you plan to vote early or on election day, a good idea to save time and make your vote count to its fullest is to check a sample ballot before heading off to your voting place. If you aren’t aware of the issues or politicians on the ballot you can find information at Ballotpedia here.

What do I need to vote early?

First and foremost, make sure that you are registered to vote. You can check your registration status with the state here. To cover all your bases, it is wise to bring some form of identifications should it be necessary.

Identification

  • If you've voted in New York before, you don't need to provide ID to vote.
  • If you're a first-time voter who registered by mail, and didn't provide a copy of your ID with your registration, you may need to show ID to vote. Acceptable forms include: a current and valid photo ID; or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.
  • Voters without ID: If you are unable to provide ID, you will be able to vote an affidavit ballot.

Besides the before mentioned you may want to make plans ahead of time for what you want with you should you encounter any long lines. Think about the weather, will you need to charge you devices or will you need a chair to rest in.

Can I still register to vote?

Voter registration has ended 9 October in New York for the 2020 general election. Nevertheless, you can register to vote now to be on the rolls for any future elections.

Do I have to vote in person?

New Yorkers have until Tuesday, 27 October if they still wish to request an absentee ballot online. The completed ballot when returned must be postmarked by 3 November and received by election officials by 10 November. Keep in mind mailing times the US Postal Service says to calculate at least seven days and beware of when the last pick-up time is, any ballot dropped off after the last collection will be postmarked the following day.

Absentee ballots can also be dropped off at polling locations in blue drop boxes avoiding lines at the polling site. Voters also have the option of dropping off their ballot at a board of elections office and at an Election Day polling site before 9 pm 3 November.  You can track your ballot here.