Voting in the 2020 NYS Primary: A Guide to Casting Your Ballot During COVID-19

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order (Executive Order 202.15 issued April 9, 2020) allowing all citizens to vote in any election held on or before June 23, 2020 by absentee ballot in order to facilitate social distancing.  June 23 is the rescheduled date of the New York State Democratic Presidential Primary. It is not necessary to vote by absentee ballot in the primaries as the polls will be open as normal, but this Executive Order allows ALL citizens to vote via absentee in this election if they wish.

In addition, the State Board of Elections has entered into an agreement to provide accessible absentee ballots to qualified people with disabilities upon request. This is to provide people with disabilities who cannot independently read or complete their ballot a way to vote privately and independently in the June primary without having to risk their health and go to the polls.

For step-by-step instructions on how to request and submit the newly available, ACCESSIBLE absentee ballot, click here.

The Democratic Presidential Primary is not the only primary being held on June 23. Parties holding primaries and the offices for which primaries are being held vary by county. To learn if a party is holding a primary election on June 23, visit your county board of elections website. Here’s where to find that contact information.   

Last month, many registered voters received an application for an absentee ballot with a prepaid return envelope as part of that executive order. If you completed that application and returned it, you should receive an absentee ballot shortly. If you did not receive an application in the mail, or you do not receive your ballot soon, you may need to apply for one in order to vote by absentee ballot in the primary. Those applications must be mailed, emailed or faxed by JUNE 16 OR you may apply in person at your county board of elections office up to the day before the primary.

PLEASE NOTE: There is also a special election being held on June 23 to fill a vacancy in the 27th Congressional District (Counties: Genesee, Livingston, Orleans, Wyoming, part of Erie, Monroe, Niagara, and Ontario).

A voter may request an absentee ballot as follows.

  • Applications for absentee ballots are available at your county board of elections where you may complete and submit them in person.
  • You may download a PDF version of the New York State Absentee Ballot Application Form:
  • Voters with disabilities can apply for an accessible absentee ballot using the Accessible Absentee Ballot Application.

Upon completion, applications must be mailed, emailed or faxed to your county board of elections no later than the seventh day before the election or delivered in person no later than the day before the election. For accessible ballot applications, those must be sent to your County Board of Elections via email so they can email you the accessible ballot.

  • You may also request an Absentee Ballot by sending a letter to your county board of elections. The letter must be received by your county board no later than seven days before the election. The letter must contain the following information:
    • your name and date of birth,
    • the address where you are registered,
    • an address where the ballot is to be sent,
    • the reason for the request.

The letter may be sent via mail, email or fax. Here is the contact and absentee information for all County Boards for you to email, mail or fax an application.


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