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What you need to know to vote in the 2020 election

Depending on how you choose to vote, there are a number of deadlines you should know.
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — The 2020 general election is Tuesday, November 3.  If you're planning to vote this year's election, there are a number of deadlines you need to know.

2 On Your Side has put together a guide with information on how to register, absentee voting, early voting and voting in person on Election Day.


On Election Day (November 3rd), will you be:

  • at least 18 years of age?
  • a resident of New York State for 30 days?
  • a citizen of the United States?

If you can answer “yes” to all three of those questions, you are eligible to vote.

There are some exceptions. If you are in prison or on parole for a felony conviction, or judged mentally incompetent by a court, you are not eligible to vote. 


To vote in New York State, you must register.  There are lots of places to fill out a voter registration application:

  • Your county Board of Elections office
  • Any DMV or county auto bureau
  • The offices of 15 state government agencies, including:
  •  Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services
  • City Universities of New York (CUNY)
  • Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • Department of Health - WIC Program
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of Social Services
  • Department of State
  • Division of Veterans’ Services
  • Military Recruiting Offices
  • Office for the Aging
  • Office of Mental Health
  • Office for People with Developmental Disabilities
  • State Universities of New York (SUNY)
  • Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Workers’ Compensation Board

You can also request a New York State Voter Registration form by mail by entering your name directly into the New York State Board of Elections mailing list database and request a form be sent to you. 

You can also call the New York State Board of Elections 1-800-FOR-VOTE hotline to request a voter application.

IMPORTANT: The deadline to submit your registration form is 
October 9, 2020.


You can request an absentee ballot right now. Because of the pandemic, state rules about voting absentee have been loosened. Now, it’s as easy as asking and you will be sent an absentee ballot will be sent to you.

But first, you need an absentee application. Here is where you can get an absentee ballot request form:

Online: https://absenteeballot.elections.ny.gov/

It’s that simple. You’re done. Your ballot is on the way to you.

You can also download the absentee application here: https://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/download/voting/AbsenteeBallot-English.pdf

Once you fill out your absentee ballot application, you can mail, fax or deliver in-person the application to your county board of elections.  If you choose to mail in your application, it must be post-marked or received seven days prior to the general election. 

IMPORTANT:  The last day to request an absentee application is 
October 27, 2020.


Once you have filled out your absentee ballot (don't forget to sign it), you must send the completed absentee ballot to your county board of elections, or  post-marked (if you are sending by mail) by Election Day, November 3rd.

TIP:  Don’t wait, if you know who you’re voting for. Send it in early, if you can. 


Every county will have early in-person voting available for nine days from October 24 through November 1, 2020.

Find out where the early voting locations in your county are. 


Of course, you can always do the traditional thing and vote at your polling place on Election Day, which is November 3, 2020. Polls are open across the state from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Find your polling place here.

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto