Absentee Voting

Qualifications to Vote by Absentee Ballot

  1. Absent from your county on Election Day.
  2. Unable to appear at the polls due to temporary or permanent illness or disability (temporary illness includes being unable to appear due to risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease like COVID-19).
  3. Unable to appear because you are the primary care giver of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled.
  4. A resident or patient of a Veterans Health Administration Hospital.
  5. In jail or prison for any reason other than a felony conviction. This includes anyone who is awaiting grand jury action, awaiting trial, or serving a sentence for a misdemeanor.

How to Apply for an Absentee Ballot

You may apply for an absentee ballot in any of the following ways:

If you cannot pick up your ballot, 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.

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 your county board of elections indicating permanent illness or physical disability in section 1 of the application.

You will then automatically receive an absentee ballot for every election until your registration is canceled.

If you have any questions please contact the Board of Elections, we are here to help you.

When is it due?

Applications requesting to receive an absentee ballot by mail must be received by the board of elections in your county no later than fifteen days before the election. For absentee ballots to be received in-person, applications must be received by your board in person no later than the day before the election.

How to Cast an Absentee Ballot

  1. Once you receive the ballot, mark the ballot according to your choices for each office following the instructions on the ballot
  2. Once you have completed marking your ballot fold it up and place it in the Ballot Envelope. (This envelope will have a place on the back of the envelope for your signature.)
  3. Sign and date the back of the Ballot Envelope.
  4. Seal the Ballot Envelope.
  5. Place the Ballot Envelope in the Postage Paid Return Envelope. (The Postage Paid envelope will have the return address of the Steuben County Board of Elections on the outside and should have a logo that reads, “Official Election Mail”.)The Return Envelope does not require any additional postage.
  6. Seal the Return Envelope.

How to Return an Absentee Ballot

You may return the ballot in any of the following ways:

For the June Primary Election

  • Put it in the mail ensuring it receives a postmark no later than June 28th.
  • Bringing it to the County Board of Elections Office no later than June 28th by 9pm.
  • Bringing it to an early voting poll site in your county between June 18th and June 26th.
  • Bringing it to a poll site in your county on June 28th by 9pm.

For the November General Election

  • Put it in the mail ensuring it receives a postmark no later than November 8th.
  • Bringing it to the County Board of Elections Office no later than November 8th by 9pm.
  • Bringing it to an early voting poll site in your county between October 29th and November 6th.
  • Bringing it to a poll site in your county on November 8th by 9pm.

Mail Time Considerations When Returning an Absentee Ballot

When mailing your completed ballot, the USPS recommends that voters allow enough time for ballots to be returned to the Board, which is generally seven days ahead of the general election. Voters who mail in their ballots on Election Day must be aware of the posted collection times on collection boxes and at the Postal Service’s retail facilities, and that ballots entered after the last posted collection time will not be postmarked until the following business day.

Absentee Cures

There are certain errors or problems that can occur when a voter completes an absentee ballot envelope. Many of these errors or problems are curable by means of filing a cure statement with your board of elections. If your ballot envelope has a curable defect, you will receive a notice from the board of elections. View the Cure Process Description (PDF)

New Absentee Ballot Procedure

Due to a recent change in law, New York State voters are no longer permitted to cast a ballot on a voting machine if they have already been issued an absentee ballot for that election. Voters who have already been issued an absentee ballot can still vote in person using an affidavit ballot. The affidavit ballot will be kept separate until the election is completed. Election officials will verify whether the voter’s absentee ballot has been received. If the voter’s absentee ballot has been received, the affidavit ballot will not be counted. If the voter’s absentee ballot has not been received, the affidavit ballot will be counted.

If a voter requests a second absentee ballot, any previously issued absentee ballot that is returned by the voter will be set aside unopened to provide the voter a chance to return the second ballot, unless the first ballot has already been opened. If both ballots are received before the return deadline, the ballot with the later postmark date is accepted and any other ballots that have been received are rejected, unless the first ballot has already been opened. If a voter submits more than one timely absentee ballot and cast an affidavit ballot, the last received ballot, either submitted in person during the election or by mail within the absentee return deadline, will be canvassed.