How can I vote with an Absentee Ballot?
You can vote through the mail by using an Absentee Ballot. The process has several steps:
- Request: You or a near relative must write your county Board of Elections and request an Absentee Ballot (be sure the request is signed). This request can be made as early as 50 days before the election, but it must be received at least 7 days before Election Day, by 5 PM.
- Receive Ballot: The Board will send these items to the mailing address you provide (the items can not be picked up in person):
- An Absentee Ballot,
- A return envelope with a certificate statement on it, and
- An instruction sheet.
- Mark Ballot, Fill out Certificate, Return in Envelope: You mark the Ballot with your choices in the presence of one witness who is at least 18 years old and not a candidate in the election. The witness should not violate your privacy as you vote (unless you need assistance due to a disability); he or she must sign the certificate on the return envelope and provide an address. Make sure all parts of the form on the envelope are filled out, then insert the Ballot in the envelope, and seal and return it as instructed to your county Board of Elections.
To be counted, the Ballot must be delivered to the local Board by 5 PM of the day before Election Day, or it must be postmarked at least on Election Day and arrive in the mail by 5 PM three days later. The Ballot can be handed delivered only by the voter or the voter’s near relative.
Here are additional rules about voting with an Absentee Ballot:
- An Absentee Ballot can be requested by any registered voter or the voter’s near relative. Near relatives include a parent, legal guardian, spouse, sibling, grandparent, child, grandchild, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, step parent or step child.
- A separate Absentee Ballot request must be made for the Primary and General Election, unless you are in the military or if illness or physical disability renders you unable to go the polls during an entire election cycle. Under those circumstances, you can ask for a Primary and General Election Ballot with a single request. You will need to renew this request each year.
- The request must be written entirely by the person making the request – it can be typed, but no form letter or pre-completed application can be used. You should provide this information:
- Voter’s name.
- Voter’s street address – it should match the voter’s registration address.
- Address where the Absentee Ballot should be mailed.
- The voter’s date of birth.
- The signature of the voter or the near relative making the request.
- If the requester is a relative, list the person’s name, address and relationship to the voter.
- Provide a day-time phone number or email address in case your Board of Elections needs to contact you.
- Voters outside the U.S. or in the military may have the option of faxing or scanning their Absentee Ballot request and sending it in as an attachment to an email – contact your county Board of Elections for details. An email request must contain all the information listed above, including a signature. Keep in mind that email from other countries may be blocked by spam filters. If you do not receive an acknowledgment after several days, you may want to try another method, such as mailing or faxing in your request.
- If you are registered as an Unaffiliated voter and request an Absentee Ballot for the Primary, you may request a Ballot for either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party. If you do not specify a party’s Primary Ballot, you will receive a Ballot without any partisan races on it. (Note: If you are registered with a party, you do not have a choice; you will receive the Primary Ballot for your party.)
If you vote using an Absentee Ballot: Don’t forget to vote for judicial candidates on the non-partisan section of the Ballot.