To vote by absentee ballot (aka voting by mail), you must request an application. (If you are not yet registered to vote, you must first do that, and the deadline is Friday, Oct. 9.) To receive a vote-by-mail application, you can do one of the following:
a. Request a form at absenteeballot.elections.ny.gov.
b. Download the form at elections.dutchessny.gov or putnamboe.com.
c. Call 845-486-2473 (Dutchess) or 845-808-1300 (Putnam).
d. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
 Once you receive the application form, you can select one of six reasons for your request, such as that you will not be in the county on Election Day or that you have a “temporary illness.” The definition of the latter now includes “being unable to appear due to risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease like COVID-19.”
 Mail the completed and signed application to the Board of Elections. The address is on the form. The deadline is Oct. 27, although the U.S. Postal Service has said it cannot guarantee delivery of ballots for absentee applications received within 15 days before the election, so the prudent deadline is Oct. 19. You also can apply in-person at the Board of Elections up to the day before the election (Nov. 2). Absentee ballots will be mailed out beginning on or about Sept. 18.
 When you receive your absentee ballot, fill it out and slide it into the envelope provided. Seal and sign that envelope. Place it in the mailing envelope, seal it, apply a postage stamp and drop it in the mail. Ballots also can be dropped off at the Board of Elections, at any early voting site or at the polls on Election Day.
In addition, both counties also will offer early, in-person voting from Oct. 24 to Nov. 1. Dutchess will have four sites, including at Fishkill Town Hall (807 Route 52) and Putnam will have one, at the Board of Elections (25 Old Route 6 in Carmel).