Voter Registration in New York
“Am I registered to vote in New York?” is a question many people ask themselves during election season. If you have not registered before, you will need to contact your county’s Board of Elections in order to ensure you are able to vote. While figuring out the answer to questions like, “Where do I vote?” can be intimidating, it is important to understand how the voting process works, so that your voice can be heard by the government.
Then, during Election Day, you will simply need to go to your polling place and vote. In this article, you will learn how to register to vote in New York. This includes learning how to determine if you are eligible to register, when you need to be registered by, how you can register, who can get an absentee ballot, how to get one as a service member and why your voter registration card is important.
Who can register to vote in New York?
Voter registration in New York is open to many of the people living in the state. In order to be eligible, you must be a citizen who has established residency in the state. This residency needs to be established no less than 30 days before you vote. Since only adults can vote, you will need to be 18 years old by the end of the calendar year.
On the other hand, keep in mind that you will not actually be able to vote until you turn 18. Moreover, you can only be eligible to vote in one state. This means you cannot be registered in more than one state at a time.
Finally, individuals who have been found guilty of committing a felony are not eligible to register to vote in NY until they have served the full term of their sentences. This includes parole, but exceptions are made if you go through the rights restoration process.
New York Voter Registration Deadline
The deadline for registering to vote in New York will vary based on what election you are registering for and how you are registering. Here are the dates by which the registration form needs to be in:
- If you are registering in-person for the general election, it will need to be in by October 12.
- If you are registering via mail for the general election, it will need to be in by October 17.
- If you are registering in-person for the federal primary, it will need to be in by June 1.
- If you are registering via mail for the federal primary, it will need to be in by June 6.
- If you are registering in-person for the local (including state) primary, it will need to be in by August 19.
- If you are registering via mail for the local (including state) primary, it will need to be in by August 24.
Different deadlines apply for voter registration if you are already registered and are simply changing your address or political party.
How to Register to Vote in New York
If you are eligible, there are three major ways you can register to vote in New York:
- Via mail
You can complete your voter registration in-person at many government offices: the DMV or County Board of Elections are two offices well-equipped to answer any registration questions you have. To register online, you will need to go to the New York DMV’s website. By going to the County Board of Elections website, you will be able to get a registration form sent to you in the mail. Calling 1-800-FOR-VOTE is another way to get a registration form sent to you in the mail.
The Voter Registration form will ask you personally identifying information, requiring you to provide either the serial number of your SSN or the number on your state-issued ID. If neither of these are available to you, you will need to prove your identity with an official document showing both your legal name and address (e.g. a bank statement).
Early Voting in New York
Registered voters in New York do not have the option of voting early. If you are unable to vote on Election Day, you will need to get an absentee ballot.
New York Voter Registration for Active Duty Military Residents
No matter what reason you have for being out of state, the absentee ballot program is designed to ensure that you get to vote. Service members have a different absentee ballot form, which is called the Federal Postcard Application Military.
Bases have a Voting Assistance Officer who can help you when registering to vote in New York, if you are having trouble determining how to find or submit the Federal Postcard Application to New York’s County Board of Elections.
New York Voter Registration for Absentee Voting
Not all voters are eligible to get an absentee ballot. Instead, absentee voters need to have a valid reason for requesting a ballot. You may register for absentee voting if you will not be in New York during an election day, if you are physically unable to get to the polls due to a medical condition or if serving time for a non-felony offense prevents you from going to the polls.
You will not need to show your voter registration card when you go to vote, though it can be used as a form of identification. The most important aspect of the card that you need to understand is the signature. This signature will be compared to the signature you use at the polling location. If these signatures do not match, your ballot may be thrown out.
How to Change Your Voter Registration in New York
To change your voter registration in New York, you simply need to submit a new voter registration form to the Board of Elections. The new form will overwrite your current registration.
If you need to change voter registration address, you will need to do so 20 days before the election. To change your political party, you will need to submit the new registration form 25 days before the election. Making changes to your driver’s license and other identifying documents may help you during the process of updating or changing your voter registration.
How to Replace a Lost New York Voter Registration Card
If you have lost your registration card, you will need to contact the Board of Elections in order to get a new one.