I won’t be the first to tell you, but 2020 is an election year! I am proudly running for re-election to remain your New York State Assemblywoman, so that we can continue to make progress on issues like our environment and our schools, and to continuously improve our quality of life.

In addition to my seat, and of course the presidency, there is so much at stake in this election — all of our federal representatives in the House and every state legislator are running this year. That’s why today, I ask everyone reading this, to sit down and make a plan to vote: by mail, early, or on Election Day. There is a lot of information causing confusion about voting this year, but making a plan is the easiest way to ensure that you commit to voting and that your vote counts. I want to make sure you have as much information as possible to formulate the best plan for you and your family to vote.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I understand that voting in person may seem like an overwhelming challenge — that’s why voting early is a great option! Early voting allows us nine consecutive days to vote prior to Election Day. Voting early will provide a chance to vote safely in person without worrying about massive lines and crowded polling places. Make a plan to vote early, by deciding with your family which day and time you want to go and cast your vote. Early voting starts on Oct. 24 and ends on Nov. 1. To find your early voting site, or Election Day poll site, go to findmypollsite.vote.nyc.

In New York, all early voting sites operate during the same hours: Saturday, Oct. 24, and Sunday, Oct. 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, Oct. 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday, Oct. 27, and Wednesday, Oct. 28, from noon to 8 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 pm; Friday, Oct. 30, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Saturday, Oct. 31, and Sunday, Nov. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In addition, many people are choosing absentee or mail-in voting — these are two terms commonly used to refer to the same thing: voting by mail for the upcoming 2020 election. In order to do that, you must first request an absentee ballot, which can be done at vote.nyc, or by calling the New York City Board of Elections at 1 (866) VOTE-NYC (868-3692). Once you have requested your absentee ballot, one will be mailed to your home. You can track the status of your absentee ballot by calling the BOE or by visiting nycabsentee.com/tracking. After you receive your absentee ballot, make a plan, because you have options. All absentee ballots can either be: 1. mailed in; 2. dropped off at an early voting poll site between Oct. 24 and Nov. 1; 3. dropped off at a poll site on Election Day, Nov. 3, between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.; or 4. dropped off at the Queens County Board of Elections Office (118-35 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills, NY 11375) now until no later than Nov. 3 by 9 p.m. If you’re going to vote by absentee ballot, make a plan with your family to decide whether you will mail it in or drop it off in-person, to ensure your vote gets counted and has enough time to get to the BOE before Election Day.

Your vote is your voice, and there is so much more on the ballot than just my seat. School funding is on the ballot, infrastructure investments are on the ballot, clean energy is on the ballot — decisions we make now will have an impact on our futures for generations to come. So make sure your voice is heard and make a plan to vote today!

Stacey Pheffer Amato is New York State Assemblywoman for the 23rd District, in southern Queens and the Rockaways.

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