As stories and rumors circulate about problems with the USPS, now is a great time to brush up on New York State's mail-in voting laws.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has been the subject of multiple stories recently. USA Today reports that there are multiple complaints of mailbox removal, mail sorting machines being removed, and President Trump has issued conflicting reports about support and funding for the postal service. The Chicago Tribune reports that the House will be called back early from their congressional recess to have an emergency hearing regarding issues with the post office.

While the stories about the USPS are a bit confusing right now, one thing that's clear cut is New York State's mail-in voting laws. If you plan on voting, whether it's in-person or mail-in voting, there are some upcoming deadlines you must be aware of. If mail-in voting is your choice, there's also some information you should know about that.

The New York State deadline to register online to vote is Friday, October 9, 2020. Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. You have 53 days left to register to vote online, my bail, or in-person, the deadline is Friday, Oct. 9. There are 78 days left until Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3. You cannot cast your ballot the same day that you register to vote. You can vote without a photo ID. The first day to vote early in-person is October 24, 2020, and the last day is November 1, 2020.

Mail-in voting has some rules with it as well in New York State. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is Tuesday, October 27 by mail, or by Monday, November 2 in person. Your ballot must be postmarked by Tuesday, November 3. The ballot needs to be received by Tuesday, November 10. You can vote without a notary or a witness but you cannot track your ballot.

What a lot of New Yorkers must be wondering is if you can use the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to vote by mail. At the time this article was written, you cannot use the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse for why you are using mail-in voting. Valid excuses for mail-in voting are if you are absent from your county, or if a resident of New York City is absent from NYC on election day if you are unable to appear at poles due to a temporary or permanent illness or disability, if you are the primary caregiver of one or more person who is ill or physically disabled, if you are a resident or patient of a Veterans Health Administration Hospital, or if you are detained in jail awaiting Grand Jury action, or confined in prison after conviction for an offense other than a felony.

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