The New York State Primary is coming up on June 23. This includes presidential, federal, state and local races. Polls will be open that day and early voting starts June 13. BUT: if you’re sitting at home questioning whether or not you want to take the risk of voting in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re in luck: You can vote absentee, thanks to an executive order signed by Governor Cuomo in April.
If you want to go this route, it’s relatively easy, but you do have to get the ball in motion now. So stand up, stretch a bit, maybe do some confidence-building shadow boxing… and let’s do this!
- Approach that mail pile in the front hall, the garage, or wherever you’ve been airing it out. Look for a standard size white envelope from the Rockland County Board of Elections. Maybe put on your gloves, your hazmat suit, or whatever protection you’re currently using to interact with items from the outside world. (I think I’m kidding–if it’s been sitting for a while, it’s probably fine, right? … It’s difficult to understand all the idiosyncrasies of this virus.)
- Open the envelope and allow yourself to emit a small yet genuine squeal of delight, because there is something free in there. Free! No, it’s not an ice cream cone–it’s a return envelope with the postage already on it. Plus, you don’t even have to do the hard work of writing the address on there!
- Fill out the enclosed form called “New York State Absentee Ballot Application.” This will require a writing implement, a flat surface, and just a few activated brain cells.
- Check the box “Temporary Illness”–even if you are not sick. By doing so, you are not being dishonest or “working the system” in any way. In fact, this is what the executive order says all of us should check this time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Check the box “Primary Election Only.” Again, this is what the executive order covers–it does not cover the General Election in November. We will have to sit tight and see how that one plays out… just as we are literally “sitting tight” to see how just about everything plays out these days.
- Put this in the mail with a postmark of June 16, but ideally far before that. I’d recommend… TODAY, for example. Your actual ballot is going to be due by June 22 (postmark), so the turnaround is going to be relatively quick. I’m happy to report that you will not have to pay postage or hunt down a stamp for that either.
- Actually, hold up! Before you drop this letter in the mail, take a selfie to document this powerful moment, then post it on your favorite social media platforms. Or text this photo to everyone you know. Sorry, this might require some extra primping steps, including but not limited to: lipstick or… use of a comb… but we all have to do our part to get the word out. With everything going on in America right now, it’s more important than ever for us to cast our votes–and to encourage each other to do so.
It Takes a Village to cover our villages.
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Note: If you never received this form, or you just can’t locate it in all your mail, you can download and print it out here, at the Rockland Board of Elections website. You can alternatively call to request an absentee ballot at 845-638-5172.
And reminder: If you don’t send in an absentee form, you can still vote in person! Early voting is a particularly good option at this point, as you are less likely to come into contact with too many other voters. Please wear a mask in honor of your fellow voters and the poll workers, and take all possible precautions, as far as distancing.
Here are the times for early voting:
- Saturday, June 13, 2020 from 9a until 2p
- Sunday, June 14, 2020 from 9a until 2p
- Monday, June 15, 2020 from 9a until 5p
- Tuesday, June 16, 2020 from 12n until 8p
- Wednesday, June 17, 2020 from 9a until 5p
- Thursday, June 18, 2020 from 12n until 8p
- Friday, June 19, 2020 from 9a until 5p
- Saturday, June 20, 2020 from 9a until 2p
- Sunday, June 21, 2020 from 9a until 2p
And here are the four early voting locations in Rockland:
- Clarkstown Town Hall, 10 Maple Avenue, New City, New York 10956
- Haverstraw Town Hall, 1 Rosman Road, Garnerville, New York 10923
- Orangetown Town Hall, 26 West Orangeburg Road, Orangeburg, New York 10962
- Ramapo Town Hall, 237 Route 59, Suffern, New York 10901
I may not see you at the polls this year… but I look forward to seeing your posts about voting and performing this civic duty, together, even if we choose to do so from home.
Jocelyn Jane Cox is a freelance writer and author. Her 2012 humor book on life in the New York suburbs, The Homeowner’s Guide to Greatness: How to handle natural disasters, design dilemmas and various infestations, is available on Amazon.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JocelynJaneCox.
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