This week, clergy and wardens of the Diocese of Central New York met with Alan Yarborough of the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations. Yarborough helps Episcopalians faithfully engage their communities and elected officials on issues that matter to the Church. He encouraged us to “plan our vote.” Knowing our plan, and helping others make their plans, means we’re less likely to be deterred from voting by challenges we might face in this pandemic season.
A plan for voting includes:
Step 1: Registration
Are you registered to vote?
Check your registration status at: voterlookup.elections.ny.gov.
If you need to register, visit dmv.ny.gov/more-info/electronic-voter-registration-application to register online or to learn about registering by mail or in-person.
Step 2: Research
Who will be on your ballot? Presidential elections generate a lot of attention, but your local and state elections matter, too! You can visit ballotready.org to see the candidates who will appear on your ballot, then learn more about each candidate and their platform.
Step 3 and 4: Request an absentee ballot/vote by mail, or vote in person
In New York State, you have the option to vote using an absentee ballot. Per an executive order by Governor Cuomo, any voter may request an absentee ballot due to risk or fear of illness including COVID-19. You can request your ballot at absenteeballot.elections.ny.gov—do so as soon as possible to ensure timely delivery. Learn more about this option at elections.ny.gov/VotingAbsentee.html.
To vote in person, you’ll want to make sure you know your designated polling location and the dates and hours the polls will be open. Find your polling place at voterlookup.elections.ny.gov. Election day this year is Tuesday, November 3, 2020 and the early voting period is October 24, 2020 through November 1, 2020. Dates and hours for early voting may vary by your polling place. Contact your county Board of Elections, or visit their website, for dates and hours for early voting.
Step 5: Overcoming challenges and helping others vote
Once you’ve made your own voting plan, it’s time to help others to do the same!
Phone a friend or checking on a neighbor to share your plan, and help them make a plan.
Consider serving as a poll worker: elections.ny.gov/BecomePollworker.html. This year presents particular challenges, as many poll workers at higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19. If you are in a low-risk category for COVID-19, consider being a poll worker for this year’s election.
Then, get your “I’m an Episcopalian and I voted” stickers and magnets and pins, or share the image below on your Facebook page! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get yours today.