Early voting has begun, New York. Here's what you need to know.
ALBANY – Busy on Election Day? Good news.
New Yorkers have the chance to vote early in a presidential election for the first time this year, joining 42 other states that offer voters a chance to cast an in-person ballot prior to Election Day.
Beginning Saturday, Oct. 24, registered voters can vote in person at a designated early-voting site in their county. The early-voting period runs through Sunday, Nov. 1, two days before Election Day.
New York first began offering early voting in 2019, the result of a package of voting reforms approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a newly Democratic state Legislature earlier in the year.
But 2020 will be the system's biggest test yet, with a high turnout expected for the race between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Are you new to early voting? Here are some answers to frequently asked questions that may help you out.
Bookmark this: Election results for Monroe County and New York state, updated live Nov. 3
When is the early voting period in New York?
New York's early voting period runs from Saturday, Oct. 24, through Sunday, Nov. 1.
Where can I cast an early vote?
Under state law, every New York county is required to have a minimum of one to seven early voting sites, depending on the number of registered voters.
Some go far beyond the minimum: Erie County, for example, has 37 early voting sites. New York City has more than 80.
In most counties, voters are allowed to cast their ballot at any of the designated early voting sites within their county. That's not universally true, though: New York City voters, for example, have to vote at a specific early site assigned to them.
To see where you can vote early, check with your county's board of elections. Checking the board's website or calling should do.
Or you can look up your polling place and early voting sites online at https://voterlookup.elections.ny.gov/.
What hours will the early voting polls will be open?
Voting hours vary from county to county.
By law, each county is required to have their early-voting site or sites open for at least 60 hours over the nine-day period: Eight hours each weekday; five hours each day on the weekend.
Contact your county for exact hours, or use the state's online voter lookup tool.
What can I expect when I show up?
If you're used to voting on Election Day, you're probably familiar with the hard-copy poll books used to look up your registration. They're on paper, and you have to sign next to your name.
For early voting, counties generally use electronic tablets to look up your information and determine which races you should be voting on. In most counties, you'll be asked to sign electronically via the tablet, which then spurs the correct ballot to print out.
After that, you will complete your ballot like you would on Election Day: By bubbling in the people you'd like to vote for and feeding your ballot into the automated machine.
Can I still register to vote?
No. The deadline to register for the November general election was Oct. 9.
Do I have any other options other than voting on Election Day?
Yes. You can still request an absentee ballot from your county board of elections or the state's online portal until Oct. 27.
Be careful, though: The state Board of Elections notes the U.S. Postal Service cannot guarantee the on-time delivery of a ballot requested this close to Election Day .
Make sure you follow the deadlines, too. An absentee ballot has to be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by your county no longer than a week after Election Day.
Jon Campbell is a New York state government reporter for the USA TODAY Network. He can be reached at JCAMPBELL1@Gannett.com or on Twitter at @JonCampbellGAN.
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