BOE commissioner explains why voters received absentee ballot rejection letter

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Thousands of registered voters in Monroe County who received a letter from the Board of Elections, informing them their absentee ballot application was rejected, must apply for an absentee ballot for the general election.

Jackie Ortiz, the Democratic commissioner of the Monroe County Board of Elections, says the rejection letter was sent to voters who applied to vote by absentee ballot for the June primary election between May 12 and June 19 and selected “temporary illness or physical disability” in Section 1 and selected “any election held between these dates” in Section 2.

However, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.58 only applied to the primary at the time. Since then, Cuomo signed a new state law in August, allowing New York voters to request absentee ballots for the general election because of the coronavirus.

As a result, Ortiz says these voters were passed over when absentee ballot applications were mailed on Aug. 26, as they were already designated in the system as having signed up for absentee voting for the general election.

Approximately 17,000 voters now must apply for an absentee ballot to vote by absentee in the Nov. 3 general election.

You can apply online at, call the Monroe County Board of Elections at (585) 753-1550 or email

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