How can I apply to vote by absentee ballot?
2020 Absentee Voting FAQ1
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Early Voting is October 24, 2020 – November 1, 2020
A: Pursuant to Executive Order 202.58, a completed and signed absentee ballot
application is not required to be received by the Board of Elections as a precondition to
receiving an absentee ballot for the November 3, 2020 General Election.
Suffolk County voters who wish to vote by absentee ballot may apply several ways:
- Electronically by the New York State Board of Elections Absentee
- By Mail. Send a completed application or request to: Suffolk BOE | Box 700 |
Yaphank, NY 11980. If you do not complete an application and send a letter
request instead, please include your name and date of birth, the reason for the
request, the address where you are registered and an address where you want
the ballot to be sent. (See below for permissible reasons.)
- In Person. Go to the Suffolk BOE at 700 Yaphank Ave., Yaphank, NY 11980 and
make a request or complete and submit your application. Depending on
availability, you may be able to get a ballot while you wait! Otherwise you can
come back the next day to retrieve your ballot or the Board of Elections will mail it
- By Email. Email an application or request for an absentee ballot to
Absentee.email@example.com and include your name and date of birth,
the reason for the request, the address where you are registered and an address
where you want the ballot to be sent. (See below for permissible reasons.)
- By Fax. Send an application or request to 631-852-4590. If you do not complete
an application and send a letter request instead, please include your name and
date of birth, the reason for the request, the address where you are registered
and an address where you want the ballot to be sent. (See below for permissible
- By Phone. You may request an absentee ballot by phone by contacting 631-852-4515 and providing your name and date of birth, the reason for the request, the address where you are registered and an address where you want the ballot to be sent.
1Many of the details contained in this notice are a result of temporary changes to the Election Law caused by
COVID-19. As such, do not rely on this notice for elections other than 2020. This FAQ is revised as of September 1,
2020 and may be subject to change based upon future changes in the law or Executive Orders.
What are the deadlines to apply to vote absentee?
A: The deadline to apply depends on how you apply.
- By the NYS BOE Portal. Request must be transmitted no later than 7 days
before the election. (October 27, 2020)
- By Mail. Application or request must be postmarked no later than 7 days before
the election. (October 27, 2020)
- In Person. Voters may apply in-person up to the day before the election.
(November 2, 2020)
- By email, fax or phone. The request or application must be received no later
than 7 days before the election. (October 27, 2020)
When will I receive my absentee ballot?
A: In previous election years, the Suffolk County Board of Elections has sent out
ballots between one and three days after receiving an application. It may take a few
days longer this year given how many absentee ballots applications we receive. In any
case, voters may file an application at any time before the deadlines, but ballots will be
mailed out beginning on or about September 18, 2020.
What about travel time through the postal system?
A: Please be aware that despite the above deadlines the post office has advised the
public that they cannot guarantee timely delivery of ballots applied for less than 15 days
before an election.
Where can I find an absentee ballot application?
A: You can download a PDF version of the New York State Absentee Ballot
Application at the Suffolk County Board of Elections website at
If you make a request by any method other than by submitting a completed and signed
absentee application, an absentee application form will be mailed with your ballot. The
application form must be completed and returned with your ballot.
What if I cannot pick up my ballot or I can’t receive it through the mail?
A: If you cannot pick up your ballot, or will not be able to receive it through the mail, you
have the right to designate someone to pick it up for you. Only that person designated on
your application may pick up and deliver your ballot.
What are my rights if I am permanently ill or disabled?
A: If you are permanently ill or disabled, you have the right to receive an Absentee
Ballot for each subsequent election without further application. Simply file an application
with the Suffolk County Board of Elections indicating permanent illness or physical disability. You will then automatically receive an absentee ballot for every election until your registration is canceled. If you are visually impaired or have low vision, please use
the Accessible Absentee Ballot Application here:
All Early Voting and Election Day poll sites are equipped with Ballot Marking Devices
(BMDs) and are available for voters needing assistance.
What are the qualifications to vote by Absentee Ballot?
A: All registered voters are eligible to receive an absentee ballot for the following
- Absence from Suffolk County on Election Day;
- Temporary illness or disability including instances where a voter is unable to appear
personally at the polling place because there is a risk of contracting or spreading a
disease like COVID-19;
- Permanent illness or physical disability;
- Duties related to primary care of one or more individuals who are ill or physically
- Resident or patient of a Veterans Health Administration Hospital; or
- Detention in a jail/prison, awaiting trial, awaiting action by a grand jury, or in a prison
for a conviction of a crime or offense which is not a felony.
How do I submit my Absentee Ballot in person?
A: Completed, signed and sealed Absentee ballots may be delivered to:
- Any Early Voting or Election Day poll site during voting hours; or
- The Suffolk County Board of Elections during office hours.
How do I submit an Absentee Ballot by Mail?
A: After marking your votes on the ballot, fold the ballot and put it in the smaller
envelope with the oath.
Sign and date the back of the envelope. Seal the envelope
and put it in the larger envelope that is addressed to the Board of Elections. Mail your
ballot to the Suffolk County Board of Elections office.
An absentee ballot must be postmarked by Election Day and must reach the Board of
Elections no more than 7 days after the election to be counted. To avoid delays in
mailing, you should mail your ballot early.
What is an Emergency Absentee Ballot?
A: 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, you
or your representative may contact the Board of Elections to request an Absentee Ballot
Application and Absentee Ballot and return both to the Board of Elections by 9:00 PM on
What if I am an Overseas or Military Voter?
A: If you are applying for an absentee ballot because you or your family are in the
military or because you currently reside overseas, do not use this application. You are
entitled to special provisions if you apply using the Federal Postcard Application.
For more information about military/overseas voting, refer to the Military and Federal
Voting sections at:
What if I request or submit an absentee ballot and then decide to vote on a
A: It is not improper to cast a ballot on a machine after either requesting or submitting an
absentee ballot. Before absentee and affidavit ballots are counted by the Board of Elections, a
bipartisan team of election clerks, verify that an absentee or affidavit voter has not cast a ballot
on a machine. When a bipartisan team’s work reveals that an absentee or affifavit voter has
cast a ballot a machine, the voter’s absentee and/or affidavit ballot is not counted.