It’s time to take care of those election details now

There are a lot of details to take into account if you’re planning on voting in the 2020 General Election. Especially this year. Because in the age of the coronavirus pandemic, Tuesday, Nov. 3, better known as Election Day, has become somewhat complicated. 

Many voters, understandably, are hesitant to physically go outside and head to the polls on Election Day, potentially putting their health and the health of those around them in jeopardy. Hey, we get it. But we also understand, in an election as important as this year’s, that doesn’t mean people want to neglect their civic duty as Americans and sit out the vote. 

Which is why, according to The New York Times, 75% of U.S. voters will be able to vote by mail in the 2020 presidential election. And experts predict the turnout will increase, which could lead to an estimated 80 million mail-in ballots being sent in to election offices nationwide, which The Times said is more than double the amount in the 2016 elections. 

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an Executive Order to make mail in voting and early voting easier. In September, he spoke to the urgency of solving the difficulties of voting during the pandemic.

“Because of COVID, this year New Yorkers have several options when it comes to casting their ballot,” he stated. “You can vote early, vote absentee or vote in person on Election Day, and I am issuing an Executive Order to ensure Boards of Elections have plans in place to safely receive the anticipated additional volume of absentee ballots through in person return. To say this election is the most critical in recent history is understating its importance. We want to make sure every vote in New York is counted and every voice is heard.”

There are so many deadlines to be aware of if you plan to vote via absentee ballot, mail in your ballot or if you plan to vote early. If you live in Dutchess County, you should definitely be checking the Dutchess County Board of Elections (BOE) website regularly for those deadline details, at www.elections.dutchessny.gov. The BOE is located in the county seat of Poughkeepsie, at 47 Cannon St., and can be reached at 845-486-2473.

Below are a few highlights, but for more in-depth information, please read this week’s excellent front page article by our freelance reporter Carol Kneeland. 

To be eligible to vote in the 2020 General Election in New York State, Dutchess County residents take note: Registration forms must be dropped off to the BOE in Poughkeepsie by Friday, Oct. 9, or, if mailed, postmarked by that date and received by Wednesday, Oct. 14.

Voters may cast their ballots early throughout Dutchess County at a number of “Early Voting Supersite” locations between Saturday, Oct. 24, and Sunday, Nov. 1. 

Tuesday, Oct. 27, is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot online, by phone, by email, by fax or by mail and Monday, Nov. 2, is the last day to apply in-person for an absentee ballot.

According the BOE’s count, more than 20,000 absentee ballots have been requested in Dutchess County. Its commissioners expect between 60,000 and 80,000 absentee ballots will be mailed out countywide for the 2020 General Election.

By the time this editorial hits the stands on Thursday, Oct. 1, there will be barely more than a month left until Election Day. That leaves precious little time for voters to tie up loose ends to make sure they are registered, and then to get their ballots in hand if they plan to vote via absentee ballot or to vote early. 

PLEASE, make sure you have taken care of all of those details now — time is running out quickly — and we don’t just mean before Election Day, we mean for the future of this nation. Please don’t let COVID-19 keep you on the sidelines of an important election when there is so much at stake. Make sure you’re ready to vote. You’ve got one month to make it happen.

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