How to Vote

HOW TO VOTE IN 2021

How do I vote?

All New Yorkers have three ways to vote in the November 2021 General Election. Choose the best option to make your voice heard:

Early Voting

Vote in-person from Saturday, October 23 to Sunday, October 31st. Your Early Voting site may be different from your Election Day poll site, so be sure to check your poll site location on the poll site locator.

Vote by Mail

All registered voters also have the option to vote by mail by requesting an absentee ballot.

  • The deadline to request your absentee ballot online or by mail is Monday, October 18, 2021. The deadline to request your ballot in-person is Monday, November 1, 2021.

  • Ballots must be postmarked on or before Tuesday, November 2 and received by the Board of Elections by Tuesday, November 9th. When you receive your ballot, make sure to sign and date the back of your absentee   ballot envelope.

When applying for an absentee ballot, you may select “Temporary illness or disability,” as your reason, which includes the risk of contracting the coronavirus.

You can track your absentee ballot here.

Election Day

As always, all registered voters can vote in-person on Tuesday, November 2. We anticipate high turnout this year, so lines may be long at some poll sites. If you’re worried about crowds, consider voting early between October 23-October 31st. 

Find your Election Day poll site here.

What’s on the ballot?

This following local races are on the General Election ballot:

  • NYC Mayor
  • Comptroller
  • NYC Public Advocate
  • City Council
  • Borough Presidents
  •  District Attorney

Learn about the candidates on your ballot by visiting voter guides published at Voting.NYC .

EARLY VOTING

What is early voting?

Early voting is just like voting in-person on Election Day, just with more flexibility and shorter lines. Find your Early Voting poll site at Voting.NYC or by calling 1-866-Vote-NYC.

Here are the dates and times that Early Voting poll sites will be open in New York City prior to the General Election:

Saturday, October 23, 2021 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Sunday, October 24, 2021 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Monday, October 25, 2021 from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Wednesday, October 27, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Thursday, October 28, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Friday, October 29, 2021 from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Saturday, October 30, 2021 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Sunday, October 31, 2021 from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM

VOTING BY MAIL

Do I have to vote in person?

No. If you do not want to vote in person you can submit an application for an absentee ballot. New Yorkers can apply for absentee ballots for a number of reasons, such as if they are going to be out of their County on Election Day. Additionally, for this year’s general election New Yorkers can request an absentee ballot if they are concerned about contracting or spreading COVID-19.

When and how can I apply for an absentee ballot?

You can apply for your absentee ballot right now by visiting nycabsentee.com. The deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail is Monday, October 18, but we recommend that you request your ballot immediately. It only takes two minutes!

When applying, you may select “temporary illness or disability” as your reason, which includes the risk of contracting the coronavirus (you need to select one of the reasons to apply for an absentee ballot).

The request form is also available as a PDF which can be printed and mailed back to the local County Board of Elections. The form, online and in paper, is available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Bengali.

The Board of Elections says it will start mailing absentee ballots in late September. You can track the status of your absentee ballot by visiting nycabsentee.com/tracking.

Absentee ballot requests can be submitted in-person to your borough’s Board of Elections office until November 1.

Someone else’s name is printed on the envelope for my absentee ballot. What do I do?

Before sending your ballot back, you need to stop and double check that it is your name and address printed on the absentee ballot envelope (this is the smaller envelope that also has a spot for your signature). If the ballot envelope doesn’t have your name and address, DON’T USE IT. The Board of Elections will mail corrected ballot envelopes to all voters affected by this printing error. You can contact the Board of Elections by calling 1-866-VOTE-NYC or emailing Apply4Absentee@boe.nyc.

Example Absentee Ballot Envelope

While this is a very unfortunate error, there is plenty of time to fix it. Remember, whether you are dropping off or mailing in your completed, signed, and sealed ballot, the deadline to do so is on or before November 2.

My ballot says “Official Absentee Military Ballot,” but I’m not in the military. What do I do?

This is the correct ballot for use by all absentee and military voters. Typically, there is a slash between the words “Absentee / Military” like on the primary ballots from this past June. The slash was not included this time. Though confusing, these ballots are valid.

How do I request an accessible absentee ballot?

If you are visually impaired or have a disability that requires you to use an accessible version of the absentee ballot that can be read by a screen reader, you can visit nycabsentee.com. Click on the “Accessible Ballot Application” button.

To request an accessible ballot, you may also send the application form to the Board of Elections via:

  1. Email: AccessibleBallot@boe.nyc
  2. Call: 1-866-868-3692
  3. Mail your local Board of Elections office
  4. Fax: 212-487-5349
  5. In person: Visit your local New York City Board of Elections office.

Requests for accessible ballots must be postmarked, emailed, submitted online, or faxed to the Board of Elections by Tuesday November 2, 2021. You can apply in-person for an absentee ballot until November 1, 2021.

The Board of Elections says it will start mailing absentee ballots in late September. You can track the status of your absentee ballot by visiting nycabsentee.com/tracking.

When will absentee ballots be mailed?

The Board of Elections will mail ballots to voters who request them on a rolling basis. Track your absentee ballot at nycabsentee.com/tracking.

Do I have to mail my absentee ballot or can I drop it off somewhere?

If you would rather not put your absentee ballot in the mail, you have three options for dropping off your absentee ballot. Just look for the “Absentee Ballot” drop boxes:

When is the deadline to mail in my absentee ballot?

Absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day on November 2nd. We recommend mailing your completed ballot in as soon as possible to avoid any concern about your ballot not receiving a postmark and arriving too late to be counted. Absentee ballots received by the Board of Elections on the day after Election Day will be counted, even if they do not have a postmark.

How can I check on the status of my mailed-in absentee ballot?

Track your mailed-in absentee ballot request at nycabsentee.com/tracking. Once you have submitted your request for an absentee ballot, you can use the site to confirm whether the Board of Elections has:

  1. received your absentee ballot request,
  2. mailed your absentee ballot to you, and
  3. accepted your completed absentee ballot, or if you need to fix it

Do I need to put stamps on my absentee ballot envelope?

Yes, you must put stamps on the return envelope that comes with your absentee ballot if you are mailing your ballot. Two stamps are recommended.
You do not need postage if you are dropping off your ballot.

The return envelope is the larger envelope of two envelopes that will come with your absentee ballot and will have the return address of your local County Board of Elections printed on the outside. It will also have a logo that reads, “Official Election Mail”.

How do I cast an absentee paper ballot?

You will receive a ballot, a smaller security envelope, and a larger return envelope.

  • Mark the ballot with your choices for each office following the instructions.
  • Once you have completed marking your ballot, fold it and place it in the security envelope. (This is the smaller envelope that has a place for your signature.)
  • Sign and date the outside of the security envelope where indicated.
  • Seal the security envelope.
  • Place the security envelope in the return envelope (This is the larger envelope with a return address to your county Board of Elections and an “Official Election Mail” logo).
  • Seal the return envelope.
  • Place proper postage on the return envelope.

How do I cast an accessible absentee ballot?

  • Once the accessible absentee ballot is emailed to you, download the ballot.
  • Follow the instructions to mark the accessible absentee ballot, according to your choices for each office.
  • After you have completed marking your ballot, print it out.
  • Fold your printed accessible absentee ballot and place it in the security envelope. (This envelope will have a place for your signature.)
  • Sign and date the outside of the security envelope. A signature anywhere on the back of the security envelope is acceptable for accessible ballots.
  • Seal the security envelope.
  • Place the security envelope in the return envelope. (This is the larger envelope with a return address to your county Board of Elections and an “Official Election Mail” logo).
  • Seal the return envelope. For accessible ballots, the return envelope has prepaid postage.

Where and when can I vote on Election Day?

You can find your Election Day polling place here. Polling places open at 6:00 a.m. and close at 9:00 p.m. If you live in New York City and want to see your ballot ahead of time, visit findmypollsite.vote.nyc.

Can I still vote in person if I requested an absentee ballot?

Yes. New York law allows a voter to vote in-person (at their assigned polling place) even if the voter requested or even mailed in an absentee ballot. This is because before any absentee ballot is counted, a bi-partisan team of Board of Elections staff, in a transparent process open to representatives of candidates, political parties, and the press, determine whether the ballot meets the requirements of NYS Election Law. One of the first things they check is whether the person already voted in person. If so, the absentee ballot is put aside and not counted.

Do I have to bring ID?

New York does not require voters to show identification when voting, except in one circumstance. If you are voting for the first time, and you did not register to vote in-person (i.e., you registered online or via mail), you may be asked to show ID the first time you vote only. You may use the following as ID: driver’s license or other government-issued identification card, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document that shows your name and address.

If I want to vote in person, but cannot use a pen to complete the paper ballot, or need other assistance, do I have any options?

Yes, you can bring someone to assist you with voting for any reason (including language access). You can also request assistance from the poll workers or you can use a Ballot Marking Device (“BMD”) to help you mark your ballot at the poll site. However, anyone who assists you cannot be your employer nor your union representative.

What is a Ballot Marking Device?

A Ballot Marking Device, also known as a BMD, is a device that can assist you in marking your paper ballot and designed to provide privacy and accessibility to voters at their polling site.

Can I use a Ballot Marking Device?

Yes. All voters, including voters with disabilities, have the right to use a Ballot Marking Device to mark their ballot. The BMD is only used to mark the paper ballot; you need to scan the marked ballot in the counting device to cast your vote. Poll site workers can help voters use the BMDs.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

What if I have more questions?

You want to make sure your vote is counted. If you have any questions or concerns about casting your ballot that aren’t answered here, reach out to these organizations for help.

New York City Board of Elections
866-VOTE-NYC

New York State Board of Elections

Common Cause Election Protection hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE

League of Women Voters

NYC Votes

Disability Rights New York

Is it safe to vote in person?

Voting in person is safe as long as you follow the Core 4, especially if you choose to go when your voting center is less busy (usually mid-morning or early afternoon). If you can, take advantage of early voting to beat the crowds. NYS has also made absentee ballots available for anyone who prefers to vote from home. Choose whichever you are most comfortable with - the important thing is that you vote!

What steps can I take to stay safe while voting?

Wear a face covering Face coverings are required to enter all polling sites. Protect those around you and wear a face covering correctly (over your nose and mouth).

Practice physical distancing Polling sites will be set up to enforce social distancing. Follow instructions and stay at least 6 feet away from others while at your polling site.

Practice healthy hand hygiene Polling sites will provide hand sanitizer, and you can also bring your own. Use hand sanitizer before and after touching any shared surfaces and wash your hands with soap and water immediately after you get home. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
Stay home if you are sick Voting is important, but it’s more important that you get better before you leave your home and that you take actions to help prevent others from getting sick.

If you don’t have an absentee ballot, contact your county's Board of Elections office for guidance about your voting options.

COVID-19 rates are high in my community. Is it safe to vote in person in my neighborhood?

  • Polling centers will have safety precautions in place to ensure that voting is as safe as possible, no matter what the COVID rates are in your community.
  • If you are at risk of severe COVID infection (elderly, immunocompromised, or pregnant), consider taking advantage of early voting in order to avoid any crowds on Election Day.
  • If you are sick, stay home and follow the instructions above for requesting an absentee ballot by mail (until October 18, 2021) or in person at your borough's Board of Elections office by Monday, November 1st, 2021.