Every week may have felt like a decade, but it’s finally been four years. The November election is around the corner. But there’s a virus continuing to impact our neighbors and city. How can we make sure that our votes count? On today’s episode, Rachel and Dan will quickly run through all the ways you can vote this year in Bay Ridge. From absentee ballots to early voting, there are more ways than ever to make your voice heard on November 3rd. But that means taking a few critical steps now, before it’s too late.
We’ll also go over some key ways to avoid spoiling your ballot. Whether it’s not sealing envelopes properly, including stray bits of paper, or simply forgetting to get your mail postmarked in time, we’ll help keep you on track to have your vote counted.
Deadline To Register To Vote
Recommended Deadline to Request An Absentee Ballot*
Early In-Person Voting Starts
Official Deadline To Request An Absentee Ballot
* This recommended deadline is based on the US Postal Service’s advisory that it cannot guarantee delivery of absentee ballots applied for less than 15 days before the election.
Quickly jump to key parts of the episode by clicking the links below…
- Casting your ballot in a pandemic
- Ways to mess up your ballot
- Getting help voting
- Changing your mind after voting absentee
- Understanding Postmarks
- Will our absentee ballot system be overwhelmed?
- Early (in-person) Voting
Radio Free Bay Ridge strongly supports Early Voting for anyone who can do so. There are a few key reasons why:
- If you’re rightfully concerned about COVID-19, Early Voting sites will likely be less crowded than Poll Sites on Election Day.
- Unlike Absentee Ballots, votes cast through Early Voting will be counted on Election Day. This helps reduce election-day uncertainty, especially in local races.
Be sure to double-check which Early Voting site you are assigned to by going to the NYC Votes website.
Do I Need To Request An Absentee Ballot?
In New York State, Absentee Ballots are the only way to vote by mail. Be sure to apply for your absentee ballot the moment you decide you wish to vote by mail. Do NOT wait until a deadline… earlier is better!
Normally, you’d need a reason to get an Absentee Ballot, such as being out-of-state on Election Day or having an illness. However, due to the virus, the State Board of Elections is allowing people who are concerned about COVID-19 to request an Absentee Ballot.
If you are requesting an Absentee Ballot due to COVID-19 concerns, be sure to check “temporary illness or disability” as the reason for your request (source: NYC Board of Elections).
Filling Out An Absentee Ballot
- Complete your ballot with a blue or black ink pen.
- Fold your ballot and put it into a smaller envelope.
Don’t put anything else inside!
- Sign and date the outside of the smaller envelope.
- Seal the smaller envelope. Do not use tape.
- Put the smaller envelope in the larger return envelope.
Do not put anything else inside!
- Address the return envelope to your borough’s Board of Elections office:
Board Of Elections Brooklyn Borough Office
345 Adams Street, 4 Fl, Brooklyn, NY 11201
- Seal the return envelope.
- Mail or drop off your Absentee Ballot.
- Track your ballot online to make sure it arrives!
How Do I Mail My Absentee Ballot?
Option 1: Mail From A Post Office
The most reliable way to ensure your absentee ballot is postmarked on the day you mail it is to bring it to one of Bay Ridge’s two post offices.
Bay Ridge Post Office
Address: 8801 5th Ave.
Ovington Post Office
Address: 6803 4th Ave.
Option 2: Drop Off At A Board of Elections Site
It might seem weird to physically drop off an Absentee Ballot, but this is a great option. You can drop off your Absentee Ballot at any Polling Site or Board of Elections location:
- Board Of Elections Brooklyn Borough Office
(check their website for additional BOE office locations)
345 Adams Street, 4th Floor
9am – 5pm
- Fort Hamilton High School Early Voting Site
8301 Shore Road (Rear Entrance)
Check hours online (Starts October 24th)
- Any Election-Day Poll Site
Check your nearest poll site online
6am – 9pm (November 3rd)
If you do not want to leave your home, you can still drop off a ballot. As long as your Absentee Ballot has been properly signed and sealed, you can hand it off to a trusted friend or relative and have them deliver it to a BOE site for you.
Option 3: Use a Blue Mailbox
If you can’t get to a Post Office or drop off your absentee ballot in person, the next best thing is to mail your ballot from a blue USPS Collection Box.
Make sure that the collection box will be picked up before any postmarking deadlines! If you’re cutting it close, definitely consider one of the options above.
Absentee vs. Mail-In Ballots?
In New York state, the only way of voting by mail is an Absentee Ballot. The distinction between Absentee and Mail-In Ballots only really applies in five other states, which conduct their elections predominantly via. mail.
If you hear the news talk about mail-in ballots in New York State, you can assume they are talking about Absentee Ballots.
Help Ensure A Fair Election
Be A Poll Worker!
This year is going to be one of the most closely-watched election counts in living memory. If you have the ability, please consider volunteering as a Poll Worker, where you’ll be helping in a non-partisan way to fully staff and ensure the accuracy of the election.