Here’s What You Need to Know to Vote in NYC

According to Brookings, a record 83 percent of voters say that it really matters who wins the election in 2020. Compare that to the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, when just 50 percent of the voters thought that it really mattered who won. That unprecedented level of enthusiasm could translate into record-high turnout in November, but achieving that will be a collective effort on a massive scale. Come on, PSP—let’s make it happen!


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Due to the pandemic, ALL New York voters can request mail-in ballots for the general election! Take these simple steps to ensure your vote is counted from afar.


  1. Make sure you’re registered to vote. Go to the NYS Voter Lookup and look at the field called “Voter Status.” If your record doesn’t say “Active,” you’ll need to re-register by the first week of October. You can register HERE.


  1. Head HERE to submit your absentee application. When deciding where you want your ballot to be mailed, base it on where you’ll be living in mid-September through October. Unless there’s another reason that applies to you, select “Temporary illness or physical disability” as your reason for the request. This applies to everyone, even if you have not been affected by Covid. When you submit your application, record the confirmation number in case any issues arise later on.


If you’d rather not submit your application online, you can also:


Download the application in...


  1. VOTE! When you receive your ballot, read it carefully. If you don’t do exactly as instructed, your vote may not be counted. Indicate your choices by filling in the bubbles completely in ink, and place the completed ballot in the smaller “security envelope.” Be sure to sign and date the security envelope! Place the signed and dated envelope in the bigger outer envelope, but don’t use anything extra like tape or glue to seal the envelope. You also don’t need any postage!


  1. Submit your completed ballot ASAP. It must be received seven days after election day to be counted, so get it in the mail as early as possible. It’s even better if you can hand-deliver it, either to your borough Board of Elections office; any Early Voting poll site, open October 24–November 1; or any Election Day poll site in your borough (open November 3). Even if you submit an absentee ballot, you can change your mind and vote in person on Election Day or during Early Voting. Doing so voids your absentee ballot. 


Need an Emergency Absentee Ballot? If the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot by mail has passed and you cannot appear at the polls on Election Day because of an accident or sudden illness, then you may send a representative with an authorized letter to receive an Absentee Ballot Application and Absentee Ballot and return both to the Board of Elections by 9 pm on Election Day at your borough office.



Need to change your address? If you have moved or changed your address, you must update your voter registration. There are a few different ways to do so. They’re all quick and easy, so don’t delay!

  • Print, fill out, and mail a paper form: New York State Voter Registration Form. Complete the form as if you were registering for the first time, but use the new address. As a bonus, there’s a box you can check to request an absentee ballot for the next election.

  • You can also fill out the voter registration form online through the NYS DMV.

  • has a streamlined tool to help you register.


Want to help your community members exercise their democratic rights?

  • If you are a New York State registered voter, you can sign up to serve as a poll worker! Bonus: You’ll get paid for training and for every day you work during Early Voting and/or Election Day.

  • NYC Votes has text, phone, and digital volunteering options for you to help ensure that New Yorkers have the most up to date election information and can cast their votes safely.

  • The League of Women Voters offers volunteer opportunities to staff voter registration events.

  • The New York Civil Liberties Union, NYC’s local branch of the ACLU, offers a variety of volunteer opportunities, including ones geared toward specific skills such as translation, legal expertise, and journalism.

  • Rock the Vote has a range of opportunities geared toward engaging young voters, sharing information, defending voting rights, and taking action on key issues. 


Questions? Contact the NYC Board of Elections at 1-866-VOTE-NYC or Let’s get out there and do our civic duty, NYC!