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 listed below.

New York State BOE Absentee Voting Information: Rules and Procedures

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.


Election Law Update!  Pursuant to Chapter 273 of the Laws of 2021:

Absentee ballot applications by mail, portal, email, or fax must be received by the BOE not later than 15 days before the election – OCTOBER 18th.

After this deadline, you must apply IN PERSON for an absentee ballot.  The last day to apply in person is November 1st.

For Absentee Ballot Deadlines, please select the link below:
Voter Registration Deadlines | New York State Board of Elections (


  • IN PERSON at the Board of Elections (Applications are also available at your Town Clerk’s office.)
  • DOWNLOAD & PRINT: Complete the form and sign, then mail the application to us (or deliver in person) at this address:

                                    Rensselaer County Board of Election
                                    1600 7th Avenue
                                    Troy, NY 12180

         Download a PDF version of the
         NYS Absentee Ballot Application Form

         Download a PDF version of the
         Military/Federal Absentee Application Form

  • By sending a FAX request to 518-270-2909 

EMAIL or FAX request MUST contain the following information:

  1. Name and Date of birth
  2. Address where you are registered
  3. Reason for the request
  4. Address where the ballot is to be sent

If you are requesting an Absentee Ballot due to COVID-19, please select ‘Temporary Illness or physical disability’ in Section 1 on the Absentee Ballot Application.

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 not a Rensselaer County resident, you can find out where to mail your form by calling 1-800-FOR-VOTE (1-800-367-8683). If you use a TDD, please call 1-800-533-8683.

If you are visually impaired or have low vision, please use the Accessible Absentee Ballot Application. Select the Subtab under the Absentee Ballot tab to the left, titled ‘Absentee Voting for the Visually Impaired’.

Returning Your Absentee Ballot and Deadlines 

For Absentee Ballot Deadlines, please select the link below:
Voter Registration Deadlines | New York State Board of Elections ( 

The appropriate postage to return your ballot is a First Class stamp.

You Can Still Vote in Person if You Request an Absentee Ballot

Even if you request or cast and return an absentee ballot, you may still go to the polls and vote in person. The Election Law recognizes that plans change. The Board of Elections is required to check the poll book before canvassing any absentee ballot. If the voter comes to the poll site, on Election Day or during early voting and votes in person, the absentee ballot is set aside and not counted.