20 THE QUEENS COURIER • OCTOBER 15, 2020 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
What you need to know about voting this election season
BY MARK HALLUM
In case you haven’t heard, a global pandemic
has forced democracy to adapt in a
number of ways and your best bet of having
your voice heard in the Nov. 3 presidential
election may come with a number
For New York, as in other places, this
has come in form of absentee ballots being
made available to anyone who requests
to cast their vote by mail in order to
avoid other humans who may be carrying
COVID-19 and has come with a variety
of dysfunctions as seen in the June 23
So consider this article an explainer of
how to cast your vote in a way that guarantees
it will count.
Dates to remember
If you are registered to vote and wish
to submit a mail-in ballot, you must fi le a
request by Oct. 27.
Once you receive a ballot, you’re
encouraged to fi ll it out right away and
then mail it back right away, or drop it
off at Board of Elections offi ces citywide
before Oct. 24.
Recent cutbacks at the U.S. Postal
Service, however, have caused delays in
mailing, so keep this in mind if you’re
opting for a mail-in ballot. Th e Board of
Elections will accept any mail-in ballot
postmarked by Nov. 3.
Early voting begins on Oct. 24 and runs
through Nov. 1. During this period, those
who opted for mail-in ballots can drop
them off at their nearest early voting site.
Anyone who opted not to mail-in their
vote can visit their designated early voting
site and cast their vote in person.
Nov. 3, of course, is Election Day, and
polling places will be open citywide. If
you haven’t voted by mail or voted early,
you can vote in person at your designated
polling place. If you received a mail-in
ballot and haven’t yet returned it, you can
also bring it to your local polling place
and submit it there.
COVID-19 made the need for absentee
voting critical in that it reduced crowding
at polling locations and prior to the pandemic,
a New Yorker had to meet certain
criteria qualify for a mail-in ballot such
as being absent from the fi ve boroughs or
the state on election day.
Governor Andrew Cuomo opened the
fl oodgates to mail-in voting in April
when he signed an executive order making
it available to all for the June 23 primary.
Th at order was eventually extended
through the Nov. 3 election.
Th e deadline to apply for an absentee
ballot online is Oct. 27 and offi cial last
day to have your envelope postmarked is
on Nov. 3. Another surefi re way of being
counted is by dropping off your ballot at
a polling site or your county BOE offi ce.
One thing to remember is that your
absentee ballot could come with the
words “Offi cial absentee military ballot,”
regardless of whether or not you serve in
Th e New York City Campaign Finance
Board explains that normally, these ballots
would come as “absentee/military.”
Th e slash may have been included in the
June primary ballots but do not exist this
time around, though the CFB assures
voters that this is just a design change;
they are perfectly valid for civvies.
Note: absentee ballots say “Offi cial
Absentee Military Ballot” in the top corner.
Th is is the correct ballot, even if you
are not serving in the military.
If your ballot has any errors in regard to
your personal information, which could
be directly on the envelope, contact the
BOE by calling 866-VOTE-NYC or by
emailing them at apply4absentee@boe.
Voters can show up early to vote, just
fi nd one of the many poll sites that will
be open from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1.
A full list of early voting sites in the fi ve
boroughs are listed on the New York City
Polling site safety
Th e Board of Elections will continue
to take great precautions at each polling
site, both for early voting and on Election
Day, to protect in-person voters and ballot
workers from contracting COVID-19.
All in-person voters will be required to
wear masks and practice social distancing
when they show up at their polling places.
All staff on duty must also abide by
these rules. Hand sanitizer will be available
at each polling location, and voting
booths will be socially distanced and regularly
Security of mail-in voting
Despite what some might have you
believe, mail-in voting is safe and secure.
Other states have been voting by mail for
years, and there have been no reports of
widespread fraud of any sort. Th e president,
himself, requested a mail-in ballot
for this election.
If you requested an absentee ballot
by mail, your options are to return
the completed ballot by mail, or drop
them off at the local Board of Elections
office, your local early voting location
during the early voting period, or at
your local polling place on Election
Day. No one can vote more than once,
as no one can receive more than one
Th e Board of Elections is tracking each
ballot sent by mail. You can check the status
of your ballot online at their website,
Board of Elections offi ces
If you receive a mail-in absentee ballot
and you wish to drop the completed
ballot off before early voting or election
day, as noted, you can bring them
to your local Board of Elections offi ce
weekdays during business hours. Here
are the locations:
• Bronx — 1780 Grand Concourse, Fift h
• Brooklyn — 345 Adams St., Fourth
• Manhattan — 200 Varick St., 10th Floor.
• Queens — 118-35 Queens Blvd., Forest
• Staten Island — 1 Edgewater Plaza,
Fourth Floor. 718-876-0079.
With reporting by Robert Pozarycki