The Ulster County Board of Elections provides voters with guidance on how to request and vote by absentee ballot for the November 3, 2020 election
KINGSTON, N.Y. - Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced during his Facebook live briefing that New York State has expanded absentee voting and shared the multiple different ways residents can vote in the upcoming election. Last Thursday, Governor Cuomo announced expanded mail-in voting options through an Executive Order. The new laws make it easier for New Yorkers to vote and be counted including: authorizing voters to request an absentee ballot due to risk of illness including COVID and authorizing voters to request an absentee ballot starting now. Additionally, yesterday Governor Cuomo announced an Executive Order that instructs the County Board of Elections to take steps to inform residents of voting options and prepare for the General Election on November 3rd, 2020. Due to the anticipated volume of requests, County Executive Ryan urged residents to request their absentee ballot now and not wait if they would like to vote-by-mail. Residents can visit VoteUlster.com to learn more about the multiple ways to vote this year and prepare a voting plan.
“Voting is an inviolable right and making sure that all of our residents have the ability to safely cast their ballot is not just essential to a healthy democracy but also critical in light of the COVID-19 outbreak,” County Executive Pat Ryan said. “I encourage all eligible voting residents to learn more about the voting procedures for the general election and request an absentee ballot early.”
“The Board of Elections is committed to administering a fair and free election for all voters across Ulster County,” Commissioner Ashley Dittus and Deputy Commissioner John Quigley said in a statement. “Our staff works tirelessly to ensure an equitable and transparent process is applied to all voter situations and we are prepared to serve the public heading into this election season.”
Vote by Absentee Ballot: Also known as Voting By Mail – in NYS voters are required to give a reason to vote and submit a request or application to get the absentee ballot. Under NYS law there are six reasons a voter can request to vote absentee; absence from Ulster County, permanent illness or disability etc. In light of the COVID-19 crisis, the State has expanded the reason of “temporary illness or physical disability” to cover a risk of contracting or spreading a disease causing illness to the voter or other members of the public.
How to apply: Voters can find the application by visiting voteulster.com, they should complete the application and mail their application to or drop it off in person to: Ulster County Board of Elections, 284 Wall St, Kingston NY 12401. Voters can also submit their application via email by emailing their application or writing out their request in the email and sending that request to:absentees[at]co.ulster.ny[dot]us. Please include a reason in your email.
You must apply online, postmark, email or fax a completed application or letter request for the General Election Absentee ballot no later than 7 days (October 27, 2020) before the election. You may apply in-person up to the day before the election (November 2, 2020). You may file an application at any time before the deadlines, but ballots will be mailed out beginning on or about September 18, 2020. (PLEASE BE AWARE THAT DESPITE THE ABOVE DEADLINES THE POST OFFICE HAS ADVISED THAT THEY CANNOT GUARANTEE TIMELY DELIVERY OF BALLOTS APPLIED FOR LESS THAN 15 DAYS BEFORE AN ELECTION.)
What to Expect after you apply: If a voter has requested their absentee ballot be mailed to them they can expect to receive that ballot in late September-early October if they request a ballot before September 18. If a voter requests a ballot after September 18 they can expect a ballot to be delivered to them in the mail soon thereafter. Voters also have the option of picking up their ballot at the Board of Elections during our regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm) and during special days in October where the Board is open later to accommodate such requests. Check the website: voteulster.com for information on date and times for extended hours in the month of October.
What to Expect after you vote: Voters who get their ballot in the mail or in person at the Board of Elections can send their voted ballot back into the mail stream for delivery to the Board, ballots must be postmarked no later than Election Day – Tuesday, November 3. Voters can check on the status of their voted ballot by visiting the website: https://elections.ulstercountyny.gov/absentee-ballots/ Voters also have the option of hand delivering, or having someone else hand deliver their ballot to the Board during hours of operation, generally, that is Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, however, there will be extended dates of operation in October. Early Voting sites also serve as a place where ballots can be hand delivered, see here for dates and times for early voting, starting October 24: https://elections.ulstercountyny.gov/early-voting/ All November 3 polling locations in Ulster County serve as a place for voters to have their ballots hand delivered. In the instance of both Early Voting and November 3 polling locations, there will be election personnel equip to handle absentee ballots and deposit said ballots into secure receptacles that will be returned to the Board of Elections for counting.
What to expect after the Election: The Board of Elections in concert with the State Board of Elections and our partners across the state at all other County Boards of Elections work together to ensure each election has integrity. In doing so, they ensure that all voters ballots are accounted for across the State and that instances of voter fraud do not take place. Because of this, they do not count absentee ballots no earlier than November 13th. Ulster County has invested in new technology in 2020 to count absentee ballots at a more efficient pace. We expect that all absentee ballots will be counted and that the election will be verified by the NYS deadline of November 28, 2020.
If I vote absentee can I vote early or In person?: Yes. Voters who submit an absentee ballot have the option of voting in person either during early voting or on Tuesday, November 3. Voters who do this will have their absentee ballot canceled and not counted after the Board verifies that they voted in person.
Vote Early: For nine days – October 24th – November 1st you can vote at one of 5 polling sites around Ulster County. Hours of operation vary but include a mix of day, evening, and weekend hours.
You can vote in an early voting center in the county where you live. You can visit ANY of the Early Voting locations around the county (Woodstock, Kingston, New Paltz, Lloyd, or Ellenville) that is convenient, but if you wait to vote in person on Election day November 3rd you must visit your designated polling site. More information can be found here.
Vote on Election Day: Voters who choose to vote on Tuesday, November 3 will go to their regularly assigned polling location within their Town or City. Voters will be required to use the personal protective equipment (PPE) that each site is furnished with in order to maintain a safe voting experience for all voters and election personnel.
Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the Board of Elections website for any election related updates: elections.ulstercountyny.gov