New York legislation passed this year requires an application or a request for an absentee ballot to be received by local boards of elections at least 15 days prior to the general election Nov. 2. Having lived through the unpleasant COVID-19 experience in 2020 and again so far in 2021, we have a few concerns.
Monday is the last day for the boards of elections to receive an application or letter or application by mail, online portal, email or fax for an absentee ballot. This means absentee ballots will not be mailed to voters unless their application is received by the boards of elections by Oct. 18. Although the state previously required applications to be mailed by the voter at least seven days prior to the election, the ascension of early voting and an early general election date gives the impression that the window for absentee ballot is more snugly closed.
Add fears of a COVID resurgence and the likelihood of Postal Service delivery delays of at least two days and the screws tighten even more. In light of this, absentee voters should be aware of this important deadline. Between Oct. 18 and Nov. 1, voters may apply for an absentee ballot, but they will be required to pick up their ballot at the board of elections or have a designated person pick it up for them.
Voters in 2021 face more ballot-casting choices than ever before, thanks to timing, technology and COVID-19. Time to consider options is growing short. In our opinion, voters ought to take advantage of the extended time and apply for absentee ballots as soon as possible before the deadline.