1. A qualified voter may vote as an absentee voter under this chapter if, on the occurrence of any village election conducted by the board of elections, primary election, special election, general election or New York city community school board district or city of Buffalo school district election, he or she expects to be:
(a) absent from the county of his or her residence, or, if a resident of the city of New York absent from said city; or
(b) unable to appear personally at the polling place of the election district in which he or she is a qualified voter because of illness or physical disability or duties related to the primary care of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled, or because he or she will be or is a patient in a hospital; or
(c) a resident or patient of a veterans health administration hospital; or
(d) absent from his or her voting residence because he or she is detained in jail awaiting action by a grand jury or awaiting trial, or confined in jail or prison after a conviction for an offense other than a felony, provided that he or she is qualified to vote in the election district of his or her residence.
2. A qualified voter desiring to vote at such election as an absentee voter for any reason specified in subdivision one hereof must make application for an absentee ballot on a form to be obtained and filed as provided herein or by letter as provided in paragraph (d) of this subdivision.
(a) Application forms shall be furnished by and may be obtained from any board of elections at any time until the day before such election. Application forms shall also be supplied by the board of inspectors of the election district in which applicant is a qualified voter on all of the days provided for local registration. In addition, application forms shall be supplied upon the request of the person authorized to vote pursuant to this section, any such person's spouse, parent or child, a person residing with the applicant as a member of his household, or the applicant's duly authorized agent. Application forms sent outside of the United States to a country other than Canada or Mexico, shall be sent airmail. Any reference to “board of elections” in the remaining provisions of this section, except with respect to the furnishing and obtaining of applications for absentee ballots, means only the board of elections of the county or city in which the applicant is a qualified voter.
(b) Applications may be filed either with the board of elections or in person with the board of inspectors of the election district in which the applicant is a qualified voter, on one of the days provided for local registration.
(c) All applications must be mailed to the board of elections not later than the seventh day before the election for which a ballot is first requested or delivered to such board not later than the day before such election.
(d) The board of elections shall mail an absentee ballot to every qualified voter otherwise eligible for such a ballot, who requests such an absentee ballot from such board of elections in writing in a letter, telefax indicating the address, phone number and the telefax number from which the writing is sent or other written instrument, which is signed by the voter and received by the board of elections not earlier than the thirtieth day nor later than the seventh day before the election for which the ballot is first requested and which states the address where the voter is registered and the address to which the ballot is to be mailed; provided, however, a military voter may request a military ballot or voter registration application or an absentee ballot application in a letter as provided in subdivision three of section 10-106 of this chapter; and provided further, a special federal voter may request a special federal ballot or voter registration application or an absentee ballot application in a letter as provided in paragraph d of subdivision one of section 11-202 of this chapter. The board of elections shall enclose with such ballot a form of application for absentee ballot if the applicant is registered with such board of elections.
3. The application for an absentee ballot when filed must contain in each instance the following information:
(a) Applicant's full name, date of birth, and residence address, including the street and number, if any, rural delivery route, if any, mailing address if different from the residence address and his or her town or city and an address to which the ballot shall be mailed.
(b) A statement that the applicant is a qualified and registered voter.
(c) A statement, as appropriate, that on the day of such election the applicant expects in good faith to be in one of the following categories:
(i) absent from the county of his or her residence, or if a resident of the city of New York absent from said city; provided, however, if the applicant expects to be absent from such county or city for a duration covering more than one election and seeks an absentee ballot for each election, he or she shall state the dates when he or she expects to begin and end such absence; or
(ii) unable to appear at a polling place because of illness or physical disability or duties related to the primary care of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled; or
(iii) a resident or patient of a veterans health administration hospital; or
(iv) detained in jail awaiting action by a grand jury or awaiting trial or confined in jail or prison after a conviction for an offense other than a felony and stating the place where he or she is so detained or confined.
(d) Such application shall permit the applicant to apply for an absentee ballot for either a primary election or the general election in any year and for those persons who will be continuously absent from their county of residence during the period between the fall primary election and the general election in any year to apply for ballots for both such elections in such year. A voter who applies for an absentee ballot shall be sent an absentee ballot for any special election or winter primary that occurs during the period of absence specified in the application.
4. A voter who claims permanent illness or physical disability may make application for an absentee ballot and the right to receive an absentee ballot for each election thereafter as provided herein without further application, by filing with the board of elections an application which shall contain a statement to be executed by the voter. Upon filing of such application the board of elections shall cause the registration records of the voter to be marked “Permanently Disabled” and thereafter shall send an absentee ballot for each succeeding primary, special or general election to such voter at his or her last known address by first class mail with a request to the postal authorities not to forward such ballot but to return it in five days in the event that it cannot be delivered to the addressee. The mailing of such ballot for each election shall continue until such voter's registration is cancelled.
5. The application for an absentee ballot shall contain the following language printed in bold face directly above the signature line: “I CERTIFY THAT THE INFORMATION IN THIS APPLICATION IS TRUE AND CORRECT AND UNDERSTAND THAT THIS APPLICATION WILL BE ACCEPTED FOR ALL PURPOSES AS THE EQUIVALENT OF AN AFFIDAVIT AND, IF IT CONTAINS A MATERIAL FALSE STATEMENT, SHALL SUBJECT ME TO THE SAME PENALTIES AS IF I HAD BEEN DULY SWORN.” Such application shall be accepted for all purposes as the equivalent of an affidavit and if it contains a material false statement shall subject the person signing it to the same penalties as if he had been duly sworn.
6. For purposes of this section, the use of titles, initials or customary abbreviations of given names by the signers of, or witnesses to, an absentee ballot request letter, an absentee ballot application form or an absentee ballot envelope, or the use of customary abbreviations of addresses of such signers or witnesses, shall not invalidate such voter's signature or witness's signature on an application for an absentee ballot or upon canvass or recanvass of the ballot pursuant to this chapter.
7. If a person entitled to an absentee ballot is unable to sign his application because of illness, physical disability or inability to read, he shall be excused from signing upon making a statement, in substantially the following form, which shall be witnessed by one person:
“I hereby state that I am unable to sign my application for an absentee ballot without assistance because I am unable to write by reason of my illness or physical disability or because I am unable to read. I have made, or have received assistance in making, my mark in lieu of my signature.”
“I, the undersigned, hereby certify that the above named voter affixed his mark to this application in my presence and I know him to be the person who affixed his mark to said application and understand that this statement will be accepted for all purposes as the equivalent of an affidavit and if it contains a material false statement, shall subject me to the same penalties as if I had been duly sworn.”
Such statement shall be included in the application form furnished by the board of elections.
8. Printed forms of applications for absentee ballots in accordance with the requirements of this section shall be provided by the board of elections. An appropriate number shall be retained by the board of elections for the purpose of furnishing an application form to each qualified voter who applies therefor before the board of elections, either in person or by mail, and an appropriate number shall be delivered to each board of inspectors on registration days with the election supplies, and the board of inspectors shall retain the completed and unused applications and return them to the board of elections with their election supplies and an appropriate number shall be available for distribution to officers of political parties, county clerks, city, town and village clerks, colleges, libraries, hospitals, nursing homes, senior citizens centers and any other convenient distribution source which is approved by the local or state board of elections and which requests such forms.
9. The provisions of this section for absentee voting in primary elections shall not apply to the party positions of members of the ward, town, city or county committee.
10. The state board of elections shall prescribe a standard application form for use under this section. The use of any application form which substantially complies with the provisions of this section shall be acceptable and any application filed on such a form shall be accepted for filing.
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