Voters in New York can now request an absentee ballot for the November elections online, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, with a special portal set up by the state to handle those requests statewide.
Usually absentee ballots are only available to people who can’t physically make it to the polls, but the option will be made available to all voters this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In line with the sweeping reforms we have implemented to make it easier for New Yorkers to exercise their right to vote, today we launch the online portal through which every registered voter concerned about COVID-19 can obtain an absentee ballot,” Cuomo said.
The portal is now available on the state Board of Elections website: https://absenteeballot.elections.ny.gov/
Lawmakers approved legislation this year to allow voters to cite risk of illness as a reason for voting absentee. Polling places will still be open this year, along with early voting sites in each county, but absentee voters are expected to make up a larger chunk of the vote than usual.
New York has also enacted other measures to expand voting access in recent months. That included legislation to make sure that absentee ballots that arrive at the board of elections late, but are still postmarked by election day, are still counted.
This year’s general election is scheduled for November 3.