Voting rules 2020 General Election

Everything You Want to Know

Absentee Ballots

Now in NY anyone can get an absentee ballot based on fear of Covid-19 by checking “temporary illness or physical disability” as their reason on the application. Click here to view or download an application with instructions. 

On September 1, the NYS absentee ballot application portal was opened so that requests can be made directly online, in seconds. You can access the portal here.

For this General Election, NYS decided not to mail every registered voter an absentee ballot application with their name and address and other pre-filled information – like it did for the 2020 Primary. However, the Columbia County Democratic Committee, as part of its Get Out The Vote effort, is about to mail pre-filled applications to every registered Democrat in the county. 

The Board of Elections will start mailing absentee ballots around October 1. When you get your absentee ballot, complete and return it to the BOE as early as possible. In addition to mailing, you, or someone on your behalf, can hand deliver your absentee ballot to the BOE. 

Watch this video (courtesy of the Dutchess County BOE) which demonstrates how to complete an absentee ballot and avoid mistakes that could cause it to be rejected.

In NYS, you can vote in person after you receive your absentee ballot and even after you return your completed absentee ballot. Absentee ballots will not be counted until after November 3. Before counting an absentee ballot, the BOE checks to see if the person already voted during Early Voting or on Election Day. The in-person vote supersedes the absentee ballot and the absentee ballot will not be counted. Therefore, in New York State, it is possible to submit your absentee ballot based on the risk of Covid 19, then later, if you consider it safe to vote in person (preferably during Early Voting), you can do so. The more in-person votes cast on the machine, the more likely there will be certain and undisputable results on Election Day.  

If you have questions about absentee voting procedure, call the Board Of Elections at 518-828-3115 and speak with Diane or Erin.

If you have an absentee ballot and want to hand deliver it, details on when and where are here.

Early Voting

Although we applaud the new laws making it easier to vote by absentee ballot, we recommend that voters take advantage of in-person Early Voting if they can do so. 

Early voting is Saturday October 24 – Sunday November 1

As of now, there is one Early Voting site in the county: 401 State Street, Hudson; a second site is being considered. 

Every precaution is being taken to make voting at poll sites safe. All surfaces will be wiped down. Poll workers will be masked and will abide by social distancing rules.  When voting in person, bring your own PPE; PPE will also be available on site. 

If you have questions about Early Voting, about voting safety, or other matters, call the BOE at 518-828-3115 and speak with Diane or Erin. 

Election Day is November 3

On Election Day, all poll sites across the county will be open from 6 am – 9 pm. All safety precautions described above will apply. You can, of course, vote on Election Day, but with the uncertainties surrounding the future of COVID-19, we ask you to consider voting early or by absentee ballot. 
For complete and up-to-date information on voting, go to NYS Board of Elections or Columbia County Board of Elections.

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