Absentee Voting

An absentee ballot is a paper ballot, which looks exactly like the ballot on the voting machine. The ballot will have instructions on how to mark the ballot. You will receive a return envelope with the ballot that contains an oath, which must be signed, or your ballot will not be counted. Deadlines are listed on this page.

For more information visit the NY State Board of Elections (BOE) Absentee Voting Information: Rules and Procedures page.

If you are not a Rensselaer County resident, you can find out where to mail your form by calling 800-367-8683 (800-FOR-VOTE). If you use a TDD, please call 800-533-8683.

Absentee Ballot Application Deadline

Absentee ballot applications by mail, portal, email, or fax must be RECEIVED by the BOE not later than 15 days before the election.

Deadlines for BOE to RECEIVE your Absentee Ballot Application:
Primary 2023: June 12
General 2023: October 23

After the deadline, you must apply IN PERSON for an absentee ballot. The last day to apply in person is the DAY BEFORE Election Day.
The appropriate postage to return your ballot is a First-Class stamp.

ELECTION LAW UPDATE!  Due to NYS Election Law amendments in 2022:

Once an absentee ballot is requested, you will be only able to vote by affidavit at either the early voting locations or the election day polling sites. If you would like to remove your status as an absentee voter, please fill out and submit this form to us, at least 60 days before the next election.

Different Types of Absentee Voters

  • Military: members of the Armed Forces and their dependents
  • Regular: voters who are out of the county or are ill on an Election Day
  • Special Federal: U.S. citizens living abroad whose last U.S. address was in Rensselaer County are only allowed to vote for federal offices
  • Special Presidential: registered Rensselaer County voters who have moved to another jurisdiction after the last day to register are only allowed to vote for President

Qualifications to Vote by Absentee Ballot

In general, on the day of the election, the voter must:

  • Be absent from Rensselaer County because of duties, occupation, business, studies or vacation; accompanying spouse, child or parent also qualifies
  • Be unable to appear at the polls due to temporary or permanent illness or disability, or because of confinement to a hospital or nursing home
  • Be unable to appear because you are the primary care-giver of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled
  • Be detained in jail awaiting Grand Jury action or confined in prison after conviction for an offense other than a felony

How to Apply for an Absentee Ballot

If you qualify for an absentee ballot, you must request an application.

Methods to Apply

  • In person at the Board of Elections; applications are also available at your town clerk's office
  • By mail: download, print then complete and sign a NY State Absentee Ballot Application (PDF) or Military/Federal Absentee Ballot Application form (available on the Federal Voting Assistant Program website) before mailing the application to the Rensselaer County Board of Elections.
  • Online through the Absentee Application Portal
  • By sending a fax request to 518-270-2909
  • By sending an email request
  • Email or fax request must contain the following information:
    • Name and date of birth
    • Address where you are registered
    • Reason for the request
    • Address where the ballot is to be sent

Rights & Request Types

  • You have the right to designate someone on your application to pick up an absentee ballot for you at the Board of Elections; only that person designated on your application may pick up your ballot
  • If you are permanently ill or disabled, you have the right to receive an Absentee Ballot for each subsequent election without further application; please select 'Permanent illness or physical disability' in Section 1 on the Absentee Ballot application. You will then automatically receive an absentee ballot for every election you are eligible for until your registration is canceled
  • If you are visually impaired or have low vision, please use the Accessible Absentee Ballot Application