The Demorcratic and Republican National Convention have taught us two things....we are closer than ever to the presidential election and it is going to be a hotly contested race. 

In just a few months, voters will have the change to head to the polls. 

But due to COVID-19, if you would rather vote absentee, New York changed some of its laws to make it easier to vote from home.

Here's a guide that can help you navigate through New York’s absentee voting process.

What is the first step to voting in November?

First, you must be registered to vote, and you have until October 9 to do that. But first, check and see if you are already registered to vote.

I am worried about COVID-19 and putting myself at risk by going to a polling site. Can I vote absentee for the November 3, 2020 election?

Yes. New York expanded its list of illnesses to include concerns over COVID-19 as a reason to request an absentee ballot.

How do I request an absentee ballot?

The state Board of Elections is still working on setting up a portal so you can submit those requests. If you want to do it now (the sooner the better), then you can download this form. When filling out this form, you can check the box that says “temporary illness” to show you are concerned about COVID-19.

When must I mail in my request for an absentee ballot?

The last day to apply online or by mail for an absentee ballot is October 27. The last day to apply in person for an absentee ballot is on November 2.

Absentee ballots should start to be mailed out in September.

Once I get my absentee ballot, what do I do with it?

After filling out your ballot, don’t forget to sign it. The security envelope will have a place for your signature and the date, so once you tuck your ballot inside, don’t forget to sign it.

If you are returning your absentee ballot by mail, your ballot must be postmarked no later than Election Day, November 3.

If you are returning your absentee ballot in person, you can bring it to your county Board of Elections Office no later than November 3.

You can also bring your absentee ballot to an early voting site between October 24 and November 1 or you can bring it to a poll site on November 3.

When is this year’s presidential election?

November 3, 2020, but there are also a quite a few local, state, and congressional seats up for grabs this year — so make sure you check in here on Spectrum News to keep up with all the races happening in your region.