Q: Who is eligible for an absentee ballot?
A: Any registered voter who will be:
Q: How do I obtain an application?
A: Absentee ballot applications are available online (see link above) and at the Tompkins County Board of Elections and most town clerks' offices. A friend or relative may pick up an application for you or you can telephone and request that one be mailed to you. There are two applications - one is used for one time temporary absences from Tompkins County (Civilian) and the other is only used for those who are filing for Permanent Absentee status (Perm) and they will receive a ballot for every election thereafter they are eligible for.
It is recommended that you apply for an absentee ballot as soon as you know you will need it, but you can apply for a ballot IN PERSON at the Board of Elections until 5:00PM the day before each election.
Q: What are the different Absentee categories?
A: Temporary Absentee status is for when a registered voter is absent from Tompkins County on Election Day. This application must be renewed for each year the voter will be absent. It is only valid for the year to which it pertains.
Permanent Absentee status is for any voter who claims permanent illness or physical disability. (Information specifically for homebound Senior Citizens)
Military Voter is a member of the uniformed services or Merchant Marine on active duty, or an eligible spouse or dependent. Applications are good through two Federal Election cycles.
Special Federal Voter is a US citizen who resides permanently outside the US. Applications are good through two Federal Election cycles.
Per the MOVE Act, Military and Special Federal voters can also apply for and print a ballot from the internet and then mail it in. Go to https://newyork.overseasvotefoundation.org/overseas/home.htm for more information.
All applicants must fill out name, address, date of birth, and specifics of where ballot is to be delivered. Power of Attorney may not sign the application or ballot for the applicant. If the applicant is unable to sign they must make a mark (x) on the signature line. Power of Attorney, or another person, may then witness such mark on the proper witness line.
Q: How does an absentee ballot work?
A: An absentee ballot is a paper ballot which looks just like the ballot for the voting machine. You must mark your ballot clearly in pen or pencil and be sure not to make any other marks on it except those required to mark your vote. After you have filled out the ballot, enclose it in the inner envelope provided; seal it; and sign and date the statement on the back of the envelope and mail. NOTE: Military and Federal absentee voters have a second envelope for mailing their sealed ballot. Your vote is secret.
Keep in mind that unless the oath is signed and the ballot is sealed in the provided envelope, your ballot will not be counted. If the ballot is mailed, it must be postmarked no later than the day before an election. If the ballot is personally delivered to the Board of Elections it must be received no later than the close of polls on Election Day. Absentee ballots can be dropped off at a poll site before closing for delivery to the Board of Elections.