Governor Kathy Hochul has signed legislation to allow voting by absentee ballot due to the COVID-19 pandemic through 2022. This legislation continues to allow New Yorkers to request an absentee ballot during the pandemic where there is a risk of contracting or spreading disease that may cause illness to the voter or other members of the public. This legislation first became law in July of 2020 and expired on December 31, 2021.

“No one should have to choose between exercising their right to vote and protecting their health and safety,” Governor Hochul said. “This legislation will ensure the pandemic does not create inaccessibility for voters during upcoming elections and help protect New Yorkers’ access to the ballot.”

Absentee ballot applications for the February 15th special elections in the 60th and 72nd assembly districts are open through January 31st by mail, until February 14th in-person, and can be submitted by mail or in-person until February 15th. More information on absentee voting and how to apply for an absentee ballot is available here.

In addition, Governor Hochul proposed in her 2022 State of the State a number of proposals to strengthen voting rights protections in New York State, including a state-level voting rights act to protect against voter suppression, improving language access for voters, lowering the voter registration deadline from 25 days to 10 days before Election Day, and requiring polling locations on college campuses.