Absentee Ballots

Guidelines for the 2021 Elections Due to the COVID-19 Health Emergency.

For 2020, the State Legislature passed a bill including the risk of infection under the temporary illness category. The Governor signed the legislation on August 20, 2020. Executive Order 202.87 extended Chapter 91 of the Laws of 2020 for 2021.

This ensures all eligible voters can vote by absentee during the 2021 Primary and General Elections.

Expanded Applications for the 2021 Primary and General Elections

Electronic Submissions
For 2021 only, the absentee application may be submitted via mail, email, fax, or via the State Board of Elections Electronic Portal (see below). Drop in applications are also accepted. Visitors to the Board are asked to wear a mask and follow our social distancing directives. The absentee application signature requirements have been relaxed for the June 2021 Primary Election and November 2021 General Election only. You may submit the application electronically, with an electronic signature.

Letter/Email Request
You may also request an Absentee Ballot by sending a letter or email. The letter must be received no later than seven days before the election. The letter or email must contain the following information: your name and date of birth, the address where you are registered, an address where the ballot is to be sent, and the reason for the request. The deadline to apply by letter/email is June 15, 2021 for the Primary Election and October 26, 2021 for the General Election.

The letter may be sent via mail, email or fax. Our email is VoterInfo@co.rockland.ny.us and our fax is 845-638-5196. The Email/Fax letter request is valid for the 2021 Primary and General Elections only. All future elections will require an absentee application or a letter with the necessary information and an original signature.

Please note: Unless you are applying to become a Permanent Absentee Voter due to illness or disability, Absentee applications are valid for one calendar year only.

Absentee Portal
Visit the State Board of Elections and apply using the Absentee Ballot Portal. This is convenient and efficient. You can apply for the Primary, General, or both in under 5 minutes. Your request will be transmitted directly to us. We encourage you to take advantage of the portal.

Get your Absentee Application
Download the Absentee Application below for more information.

Forms to Download:
(When completing the application form, be sure to print clearly)
Download Absentee Ballot Application

Download Absentee Ballot Application in Spanish

Meeting Voter Access Needs: If you are a visually impaired voter or cannot independently cast your ballot, you may also apply for an accessible absentee ballot using the State Board Accessible Absentee Portal or by downloading the Accessible Absentee Ballot Application. ( 120KB)

Return your Application Upon completion of the absentee ballot application, you must mail it to or hand deliver it to the Board of Elections. Once we are in receipt of your application, a ballot will be mailed to you. Remember that an application for an absentee ballot is only valid for the calendar year of the request. Please Note: Except for the law covering the 2021 Primary and General Elections only, we cannot accept applications by email or fax. The New York State Election Law requires an original signature on the application document and on the ballot. Email and fax applications will be honored for the June 22, 2021 Primary Election and the November 2, 2021 General Election only.

*IMPORTANT: Take Mail Times into Account. While the law allows you to postmark your application seven days prior to the election, you should be mindful of mailing and processing times. It may take several days for us to receive your application and we need up to 4 days to process and mail back to you. We strongly encourage voters to mail applications earlier.  THE POST OFFICE HAS ADVISED THAT THEY CANNOT GUARANTEE TIMELY DELIVERY OF BALLOTS APPLIED FOR LESS THAN 15 DAYS BEFORE AN ELECTION.

Designate someone to pick up your ballot:
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. Important: The expanded submission policies may not be used if you are designating an agent for pick up. You must submit a paper application to the Board to assign an agent.

Please Note: as of February 4, 2015, the Commissioners amended the Absentee Ballot Policy. No individual, even if authorized by the applicant, may pick up more than five (5) absentee ballots.

How to Cast an Absentee Ballot

  • Once your receive the ballot, mark the ballot according to your choices for each office following the instructions on the ballot.
  • Once you have completed marking your ballot fold it up and place it in the Security Envelope. (This envelope will have a place for your signature.)
  • Sign and date the outside of the Security Envelope.
  • Seal the Security Envelope.
  • Place the Security Envelope in the Return Envelope. (This envelope will have the return address of your county Board of Elections on the outside and should have a logo that reads, "Official Election Mail")
  • Seal the Return Envelope.

Return the ballot in person:
If you prefer to drop off your ballot rather than mailing it:

  • You or a representative can return it to any of our poll sites on Election Day. Go straight to the Managers. Do not wait on line to return your ballot. You must return your ballot by 9:00PM.
  • You or a representative can return it to any of our early voting centers during Early Voting. Click here for Early Voting hours. Go straight to the Managers. Do not wait on line to return your ballot.
  • You or a representative can return it to the Board of Elections during regular business hours.
  • You or a representative can return it to the Board of Elections during our extended hours. Click here for extended availability.
  • You or a representative can return it to the Board of Elections on Election Day: Primary, June 22, 2021 and General, November 2, 2021. We are open from 6AM until 9PM. You must return your ballot by the 9:00PM deadline.
  • Secure Ballot Box: Return it to the Board of Elections after hours. Use our secure ballot return box, right outside of our front door. Important: After hours return is not available on Election Day. The deadline to return your ballot is 9:00PM. The ballot box kiosk will be closed and locked promptly at 9:00PM on Primary Day and on the day of the General Election.

Return the ballot by mail:
Ballots normally have to be postmarked the day BEFORE the election. Due to COVID, legislation was signed into law allowing voters to postmark the ballots up until the day of the election, Primary: June 22, 2021 and General: November 2, 2021. Ballots must be received by us not later than seven (7) days after the election. Once you receive your ballot, complete it, place it in the oath envelope, sign the oath envelope, seal it, place it into the mail envelope, seal it, and mail it immediately. The earlier the better! Remember: As the deadline approaches, you may ask the Post Office to physically stamp your ballot so that you can ensure your ballot has the proper postmark date.

IMPORTANT: Take Mail Times into Account. While the law allows you to postmark your ballot on the day of (Primary: June 22, 2021 and General: November 2, 2021 only) or the day before the election, you should be mindful of mailing times. Your ballot must be received within seven (7) days to be counted. Mail times will vary based on location. We strongly encourage you to return your ballot as soon as you receive it. The Post Office guidance is at least 15 days prior to the election.

On Election Day polls are open from 6:00am to 9:00pm. If you know you will not be in your voting district on this day, you may vote by absentee ballot. See the list of reasons below for voting by absentee ballot as well as the deadlines for applying for and mailing your ballot.

Absentee Voting (Regular Guidelines. See above for COVID expanded access).

You may vote by absentee ballot if you will be:

  • Unavoidably absent from your county on election day
  • Unable to appear at the polls due to illness or disability
  • You have duties related to the primary care of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled
  • A patient in a veteran's administration hospital
  • Detained in jail awaiting grand jury action or confined in prison after conviction of an offense other than a felony
  • You are disabled of permanently ill (see below)

If disabled or permanently ill:
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 Board of Elections containing a statement which describes the particulars of your illness or disability. The Board will review the facts stated and, if satisfied, will mark your registration record. You will then automatically receive an absentee ballot for every election until your registration is cancelled.

For additional information visit the New York State Board of Elections