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New Yorkers Can Mail In Ballots, but Will the Vote Go Smoothly?

Weather: Mostly sunny and warmer, with a high in the mid-80s. The weekend will see some sun, but showers and thunderstorms might interrupt.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until Sept. 7 (Labor Day). Read about the amended regulations here.

New Yorkers don’t have to worry about socially distancing at the polls this November.

The state is allowing virtually all eligible voters to vote by mail in the general election. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill Thursday that will allow voters to request mail-in ballots if they cannot come to a polling location because of the risk of contracting or spreading a disease, like Covid-19.

Even though New York absentee voting laws have changed because of the pandemic, worries about Election Day remain in the aftermath of the state’s troubles during the June primaries.

Here’s what you need to know about voting by mail in New York.

[New York will allow voters to cast mail-in ballots.]

Officials are developing an online portal for voters to request their mail-in ballots. Voters can also request their ballots over the phone, in person or by mail. Officials are urging New Yorkers not to wait until the last minute to vote because ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 3.

New York joins a growing list of states allowing more voters to submit absentee ballots to help curb the spread of the coronavirus this November. The state’s 12 million registered voters will be eligible to vote by mail.

The state already allowed New Yorkers to request absentee ballots if they were abroad, lived in a nursing home or were ill. The new law expands the definition of “illness” to make it applicable to the pandemic.

Voting by mail has been a controversial subject lately.

Warnings that mailed-in ballots could be delayed and reports that mail delivery has slowed down have caused broad concerns over the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to handle the election.

President Trump has repeatedly tried to undermine voting by mail by falsely claiming that it is susceptible to widespread fraud, and the crisis at the Postal Service prompted Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call the House back into session.

Just two months ago, election officials didn’t seem ready for the volume of mail-in ballots in New York State, which was more than 10 times the number received in previous elections.

Voters and candidates were left waiting on results for weeks. Election officials also discarded thousands of ballots in New York City because of minor errors, and some voters didn’t even receive their ballots until the day before the primary or later.

Mr. Trump falsely said New York’s primary was an example of fraudulent mail-in voting. But while there was no evidence of criminal malfeasance, the problems were enough to worry candidates about a potential nightmare come November.

State election officials are expecting more than five million mail-in ballots in the presidential election — four times the number of mail-in ballots received in the primary.

Some New York Democratic lawmakers celebrated the news of Mr. Cuomo’s signing of the bill on social media. Nationwide, Democrats have been increasingly vocal in supporting the Postal Service and voting by mail.

State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, a Democrat who represents parts of the Bronx and Westchester County, thanked the governor for signing the bill she introduced.

Join a free, youth-led conversation about health, justice and creative communities on Friday at noon. The event is part of the opening of the “Brooklyn Utopias: 2020” exhibit and online project, at the Old Stone House and Washington Park, that explores artists’ visions of Brooklyn.

Register on the event page.

On Friday at 1 p.m., attend a free workshop on Zoom that explores making suspended art pieces. Inspired by the work of Ruth Asawa, the livestream is a part of a larger workshop series tied to the Whitney Museum of Art exhibit “Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950-2019.”

R.S.V.P. on the event page.

On Saturday at 10 a.m., this free festival — online as it marks its 15th year — will celebrate Jamaica Bay’s shorebirds. Enjoy live bird-watching, talks with New York City Audubon Society scientists and family activities.

R.S.V.P. on the event page.

It’s Friday — you earned it.

Dear Diary:

I occasionally pet sit for people who are fortunate enough to be able to get out of the city in the summer.

Once, when I was walking a dog that belonged to one of my older clients, two young girls came up to me.

“Can we pat your doggy?” one of them said.

“Sure,” I said, and then turned to the woman they were with.

“Sorry,” I said. “He smells a bit. He’s not my dog.”

“That’s OK,” she said. “They’re not my kids.”

— Linda Herskovic

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