Receiving a Ballot
If a valid request is received, the county board of elections office will mail the voter absentee balloting materials to the address provided on the request form when absentee ballots are available. Absentee ballots are available: 50 days prior to the date of a statewide primary election, county bond election or any other election, except those listed below;
- 60 days prior to the date of a statewide general election;
- 30 days prior to municipal elections.
The absentee ballot packet you receive will consist of the following materials:
- A blank official absentee ballot
- voting instructions
- Application and Certificate
- Absentee Ballot return envelope
Voting an Absentee Ballot
In the presence of two witnesses (or one witness if the witness is a notary-public), the voter should mark the ballot, or cause it to be marked according to his or her instructions. Once the ballot is marked, the voter or a person assisting the voter must seal the ballot in the container-return envelope and must then complete the Absentee Application and Certificate on the back of the ballot container-return envelope. The voter’s witnesses must complete and sign the envelope in the space designated as Witnesses’ Certification (or Alternative Notary-Witness Certification, if using a notary-public as the witness). If someone assisted the voter, the assister must sign and date the certificate as well.
Returning a Voted Ballot
Once the Absentee Application and Certificate is fully executed with all relevant signatures, the voted ballot (contained inside of the container-return envelope) must be returned to the county board of elections no later than 5:00 p.m. on the date of the election. The envelope may be mailed or delivered in person to the board of elections’ office. Only the voter or the voter’s near relative (spouse, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent, stepchild or qualified legal guardian) may deliver an absentee ballot in person.
An absentee ballot may also be delivered to an election official at a one-stop voting site during any time that site is open for voting. Ballots received after 5:00 p.m. on election day will be timely ONLY if they are received by mail and bear a postmark that is dated on or before the date of the election and are received no later than 5:00 p.m. on the third day following the election.
Assistance for Voters Living in Facilities
Some voters find it necessary to vote by mail-in absentee ballot because they are elderly, limited in their mobility, or have a disability. This group of voters includes persons living at facilities such as nursing homes. Oftentimes, these voters require assistance in completing the forms or marking the ballot. The first preference, according to the law, is for the voter to receive assistance from a near relative or guardian. But some voters, particularly voters who live in facilities, may not have a near relative or guardian available to provide that assistance. It is important to know that employees of hospitals, clinics, nursing homes or rest homes are prohibited by law from providing assistance with absentee voting. So, voters who live in facilities such as nursing homes or rest homes face special challenges in casting a mail-in absentee ballot. But here’s the good news: In every county, an impartial team called a “Multipartisan Assistance Team” is available to visit facilities such as nursing homes in order to provide assistance with mail-in absentee voting. Click here for more information about Multipartisan Assistance Teams.