Fear of being infected by the coronavirus is now a legitimate excuse for requesting an absentee ballot in New York State. 

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Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation passed last month by the legislature to allow absentee ballots to be requested due to risk of illness to themselves or others.   

The legislation also allows a request for an absentee ballot to be made immediately, adding almost seven weeks to the timeline. The legislation eliminates an old provision that prevents voters from requesting ballots until 30 days before Election Day. 

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Another provision allows ballots to be postmarked on the day of the election, November 3, and still be counted.  The amendment allows the Board of Elections to count all absentee ballots that have a time stamp showing it was delivered to the Board of Elections the day after the election but does not have a dated postmark. 

The Governor signed a similar measure in June that allowed voting in the primary via absentee ballot due to fears of spreading the coronavirus at polling places.