By Brian J. Pape, AIA

Election Day: Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Early Voting: October 24-November 1, 2020

Many of you may have concerns about the coming election and New York’s absentee ballot laws. In August, the governor signed a law allowing all New Yorkers to vote absentee in this election, which means, starting right now, you can (and should) request your absentee ballot. It’s easy to do and takes less than a minute. I recommend requesting your absentee ballot early, to give the NYC Board of Elections as much time as possible to process your request. 

You can order a ballot online at, or you can call 1-866-VOTE-NYC (1-866-868-3692) to request a ballot. 

If you request an absentee ballot, you will be able to vote even if you cannot get to the polling place on Election Day. You are still eligible to vote in person (early voting or Election Day), as long as you haven’t mailed your ballot yet. Do not do what President Trump suggested—sending a mail-in vote and then voting in-person; that is a crime.

When is a request for a ballot due? You must postmark, apply online, email or fax a completed application for the general absentee ballot until October 27, 2020; you may apply in person by November 2, 2020. (Ballots will be mailed, on a rolling basis, beginning on or after September 18, 2020.)

Here’s what you need to know:

To vote by mail, you must request an absentee ballot.

You can select the reason as “Temporary illness or disability” due to the risk of contracting the coronavirus.

If you do not want to mail your ballot, you can drop it off at any early voting site during early voting period, at your polling site on election day, or at the New York City Board of Elections at 200 Varick Street, 10th floor.

The election and your vote are very important. Only by participating can you influence how our government is run. 

Perhaps equally important, consider helping as a poll worker on the election days. To do so, go online to: You will need to log on and register, or go to to view: 

  • Basic Poll Worker Manual
  • Accessibility videos also available on YouTube 
  • Scanner opening and closing videos.

Generally, West Village and Chelsea residents are in the following electoral districts (you will get specifics with your absentee ballot):

City Council, 3 or 6 respectively

Assembly (State), 66 or 75 respectively

Congressional (US), 07

Senatorial, 27

Municipal Courts, 01 or 03 respectively.

Vote please!

Brian J. Pape is a LEED-AP “green” architect consulting in private practice, serves on the Manhattan District 2 Community Board, is Co-chair of the American Institute of Architects NY Design for Aging Committee, and is a journalist, who focuses on architecture subjects.

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