2020 General Election Voting Basics – PML Edition
I am registered to vote. What are my voting options for the 2020 General Election?
ABSENTEE VOTING: If you do not wish to vote in-person, you may vote with a mail-in absentee ballot. To do so, you must first apply for an absentee ballot:
- Online by October 27 (absenteeballot.elections.ny.gov).
- By mail postmarked by October 27* (that is, no later than 7 days before November 3rd, Election Day). You can pick up an application at the Reference Desk of the Patchogue-Medford Library, or print one out at suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/BOE/InvitationtoBid.
- By phone (631-852-4515), fax (631-852-4590), or e-mail (Absentee.email@example.com) by October 27: visit suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/BOE/Absentee-Voting-FAQ for further details.
- In-person at the Suffolk County Board of Elections office by November 2 (700 Yaphank Avenue, Yaphank, NY 11980)
*Note on the Oct. 27th deadline to apply for an absentee ballot by mail: The Post Office has advised that they cannot guarantee timely delivery of ballots applied for less than 15 days before an election, so if you plan to ask for the ballot to be mailed to you, the sooner, the better!
Once you have completed your absentee ballot and are ready to vote, you have options:
- If you would like to return your absentee ballot by mail, it must be postmarked by November 3rd.
- You may drop off your absentee ballot in person at any of 12 Early Voting Sites in Suffolk County between October 24th and November 1st (visit: suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/BOE/Early-Voting-Sites-11-3-2020.
- You may drop off your absentee ballot to a county Board of Elections office through November 3rd.
- You may drop off your absentee ballot at a polling location on Election Day, November 3rd.
The Suffolk County Board of Elections is located at: 700 Yaphank Avenue, Yaphank, NY 11980. To learn more about absentee voting in Suffolk County, visit the Suffolk County Board of Elections website: http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/BOE/Absentee-Voting-FAQ.
Early voting is available to registered voters in Suffolk County from October 24th through November 1st at any of 12 Early Voting Sites listed by the Suffolk County Board of Elections. Hours vary throughout the week. For a complete list of Early Voting locations in Suffolk County and their schedules, visit: suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/BOE/Early-Voting-Sites-11-3-2020.
VOTING ON ELECTION DAY:
Registered voters can vote at your assigned polling place on Election Day, November 3rd, from 6:00am-9:00pm! To find your regular polling location, use the Voter Lookup tool provided on the New York State website: https://voterlookup.elections.ny.gov/.
Do I qualify to vote absentee?
All registered voters are eligible to receive an absentee ballot for the following reasons:
- Absence from Suffolk County on Election Day;
- Temporary illness or disability including instances where a voter is unable to appear personally at the polling place because there is a risk of contracting or spreading a disease like COVID-19;
- Permanent illness or physical disability;
- Duties related to primary care of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled;
- Resident or patient of a Veterans Health Administration Hospital; or
- Detention in a jail/prison, awaiting trial, awaiting action by a grand jury, or in a prison for a conviction of a crime or offense which is not a felony.
If I vote absentee by mail, is there anything I should know about the timing of when my ballot is received?
The USPS recommends allowing enough time for ballots to be returned to the Suffolk County Board of Elections, which is generally 7 days ahead of the general election. New York State requires your ballot to be both postmarked by Nov. 3, 2020 and received by the Board by Nov. 10, 2020. Voters who mail in their ballots on Election Day must be aware of the posted collection times on collection boxes/at Postal Service retail facilities; ballots entered after the last posted collection time will not be postmarked until the following business day.
Can I drop off an absentee ballot on Election Day?
Even if you request or cast and return an absentee ballot, you may still go to the polls and vote in person. The Election Law recognizes that plans change. The Board of Elections is required to check the poll book before canvassing any absentee ballot. If the voter comes to the poll site, on Election Day or during early voting and votes in person, the absentee ballot is set aside and not counted.
I’m not sure I’m registered to vote. Is there a quick way to check?
Check your voting status in Suffolk County using the New York State voter lookup tool: voterlookup.elections.ny.gov/. If your name does not appear when you search it and you believe you are already registered to vote, contact your Board of Elections (BOE).
Address: Suffolk County Board of Elections
PO Box 700
700 Yaphank Avenue
Yaphank, NY 11980
Phone number: 631-852-4500
Email address: BOEInfo@suffolkcountyny.gov
For a complete list of New York State County Boards of Elections: elections.ny.gov/countyboards.html.
I am not registered to vote. Is there still time to register to vote in the 2020 General Election?
The deadline to register to vote in the 2020 General Election is October 9th, 2020!
Complete and submit a New York State Voter Registration Form to the Suffolk County Board of Elections. Voter Registration forms are available at the Reference Desk of the Patchogue-Medford Library or can be printed from the Suffolk County Board of Elections website: suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/BOE/InvitationtoBid.
You may also register to vote in person at your county Board of Elections or at any New York State Agency-Based voter registration center. A list of agency-based voter registration centers is provided at the New York State website, here: elections.ny.gov/NVRA.html. Be sure to call ahead and confirm hours of operations, procedures, what you’ll need to bring, etc., before making a trip.
Other options for obtaining a Voter Registration Form include requesting a form by mail by entering your name into the New York State mailing list database, http://elections.ny.gov/VoterRegSite/VoterRegistration; calling 1-800-FOR-VOTE; or, if you have a New York State issued DMV ID card, using the DMV Electronic Voter Registration Application. For more information, visit: dmv.ny.gov/more-info/motor-voter-faqs-0. (Note: The DMV does not approve or deny voter registration applications. They send applications to the Boards of Elections offices for their review.)
Can I apply to become a poll worker?
Yes! Poll workers are needed. To inquire about becoming a poll worker during this year’s General Election, fill out the form here: https://www.elections.ny.gov/BecomePollworkerForm.html. (This form is specifically for poll worker inquiries in New York State outside of NYC).
If I go to cast my ballot in person for the 2020 General Election, what COVID-19 safety measures can I expect will be in effect?
You are required to wear a mask/face covering and maintain 6 feet of distance when entering any Board of Elections facility or voting poll site. Booths, privacy sleeves and pens will be continuously sanitized.
I just moved to a different address within New York State and would like to update my voter registration address. How do I do that?
To update your address, use the Voter Registration Form (the same form used for voter registrations). Copies are available at the Reference desk of the Patchogue-Medford Library, or can be printed from the Suffolk County Board of Elections website: suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/BOE/InvitationtoBid. You may also use the DMV Electronic Voter Registration Application to make changes to your voter information: dmv.ny.gov/more-info/electronic-voter-registration-application.
Notices of change of address from registered voters received at least 20 days before a special, primary or general election by a county board of elections must be processed and entered in the records in time for that election.
Am I eligible to vote?
Eligibility requirements in New York State include:
- Be a United States citizen;
- Be 18 years old (you may pre-register at 16 or 17 but cannot vote until you are 18);
- Be a resident of this state and the county, city or village for at least 30 days before the election;
- Not be in prison or on parole for a felony conviction (unless parolee pardoned or restored rights of citizenship);
- Not be adjudged mentally incompetent by a court;
- Not claim the right to vote elsewhere.
If I am not registered to vote; can I register to vote AND cast my ballot for the 2020 general election on the same day in New York State?
At the present time, New York does not have same-day voter registration. Your registration must be completed in advance of your vote. The voter registration deadline for the 2020 General Election is October 9th, 2020!
Where do I go to vote if I plan to vote in person on Election Day, November 3rd?
Voters who plan to vote in-person on Election Day will report to their local polling places to cast their ballots. Registered voters can find their polling location using the New York State Poll Site Search tool: voterlookup.elections.ny.gov/. If you are having trouble finding your information this way, or do not have access to a computer, you may also contact your local Board of Elections for assistance.
Where do I go to vote if I plan to vote in person during the Early Voting period (October 24th-November 1st)?
Voters who would like to vote in-person during the Early Voting period (Oct. 24-Nov. 1) can cast their ballot at any one of 12 Early Voting Sites listed by the Suffolk County Board of Elections. The site closest to the Pat-Med area is Brookhaven Town Hall. (Note that hours vary.)
What will my ballot look like?
Visit the Reference desk at the Patchogue-Medford Library within 2 weeks of the election. Libraries across Suffolk County receive all sample ballots from the Board of Elections of Suffolk County to familiarize yourself with the ballot.
Who will be on the ballot?
The 2020 General Election will determine the next President and Vice-President of the United States. Depending on your location, various State and Local Races will also be on the ballot. Please visit the Library 2 weeks before the election to review your sample ballot before voting.
What do I need to bring with me when I go to vote?
Federal law requires persons who register by mail and are voting for the first time to provide identification, either on the Voter Registration Form or in person at the polling place. Identification usually means a current NYS driver’s license or the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you do not have a current NYS driver’s license, you need to provide the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you do not have either of these, you may provide a copy of a valid photo ID, or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or some other government documentation that shows your name and address. It’s a good idea to bring your ID to the polls, especially if you registered by mail and are voting for the first time.
What if I go to vote after having registered and my name does not appear on the rolls?
If your name does not appear on the voter rolls, ask a poll inspector to confirm that you are at the right table for your voting address. (If you recently registered to vote or updated your information, it is possible your name isn’t listed because your form was not received by the deadline.) If your name is not on the list, ask for a provisional ballot!
I am experiencing an issue at my polling place and would like to speak with someone about it. Who can I call for help?
For help when at the polls, call the non-partisan Election Protection Hotline at: 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
How does the Electoral College work?
Established in the Constitution, the Electoral College is a process that involves the meeting of electors selected to vote for President and Vice President, and the counting of the electoral votes by Congress.The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. Each state has the same number of electors as it does Members in its Congressional delegation: 1 for each Member in the House of Representatives, plus 2 Senators. (New York State has 29 electoral votes in the Electoral College.) Each candidate running for President has his or her own group of electors (known as a slate) in each state. To learn more about the process and procedures of the Electoral College (e.g., the selection of electors), visit: archives.gov/electoral-college/about.
New York State Board of Elections: elections.ny.gov
Suffolk County Board of Elections: suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/BOE/InvitationtoBid
League of Women Voters of Suffolk County: lwv.org/new-york/suffolk-county/voting
Propublica–A User’s Guide to Democracy: http://www.propublica.org/article/users-guide-to-democracy-last-minute-tips-for-figuring-out-your-ballot-and-making-sure-you-can-vote
This guide was created by Meghan Roe of the Patchogue-Medford Library