Good Question: How to vote absentee in November?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Your Good Questions keep coming in about voting this fall and they all have to do with absentee voting.

Just like on Primary Day in June, you can vote absentee again in November.

Let’s look at some of the questions News10NBC’s Brennan Somers got over the past week.

Carmen says the ballot “doesn’t have the choice/reason is due to COVID-19. So, are we allowed to write that in, or are we allowed to check temporary illness or physical disability?”

The answer is yes.

That option covers you for COVID-19 and the risk of getting the virus if you went to the polls on Election Day, just like in the primaries.

Here’s another question from a viewer named Trish: “How soon can people request an absentee ballot for the presidential election on 3 Nov.?”

You can go ahead and do it now. It used to be no more than a month before the election, but that changed when the Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed all the bills into law last weekend.

Election officials are trying to get ahead of a surge in requests for absentee voters this year by sending out hundreds of thousands of applications in the mail to all registered voters in Monroe County. Those are automatically filled out for the most part. The COVID-19 section is checked and there are just a few details to confirm and sign.

An absentee application portal is also launching soon so you can also apply online.

The state says the actual ballots will be mailed to you starting around Sept. 18. and you have several options to turn them in. Below is the summary from the NYS Board of Elections:

How to Cast an Absentee Ballot:

  • Once you receive the ballot, mark the ballot according to your choices for each office following the instructions on the ballot.
  • Once you have completed marking your ballot fold it up and place it in the Security Envelope.
  • (This envelope will have a place for your signature.)
  • Sign and date the outside of the Security Envelope.
  • Seal the Security Envelope. Place the Security Envelope in the Return Envelope.
  • (This envelope will have the return address of your county Board of Elections on the outside and should have a logo that reads, “Official Election Mail.”)
  • Seal the Return Envelope.

You may return the ballot in any of the following ways:

  • Put it in the mail ensuring it receives a postmark no later than November 3.
  • Bringing it to the County Board of Elections Office no later than November 3rd.
  • Bringing it to an early voting poll site between Oct. 24 and Nov. 1.
  • Bringing it to a poll site on November 3rd.

If you have a question you’d like answered, email