YOUR VOTE, YOUR VOICE — In such a chaotic year wrought by crisis and confusion, it is more important than ever for every citizen to exercise their voice in our democracy. Where do you see our country going? Where do you want it to go? If you have something to say about what’s going on, VOTE!
Guide to registration.
REGISTER TO VOTE ONLINE HERE: This process takes just five minutes and will make you eligible to vote in the November elections.
You will need:
- your New York State DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) issued driver license, permit, or Non-Driver ID — it must be your most recently issued document — you will need the ID number and document number.
- the ZIP Code currently on record with the DMV
- the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number (SSN).
Once you apply to register online, your application will then be sent from the DMV to your County or City Board of Elections for review. After the documents are processed, you will be notified by your local government that you are registered to vote, or that you still need to provide additional information in order to complete the application. It should take at most 6 weeks to be processed.
Requirements to vote in the State of New York.
Make sure you are eligible to vote! Here are the requirements:
- Be a United States citizen,
- Be 18 years old by December 31 of the year in which you file this form. You must be 18 years old by the date of the general, primary or other election in which you want to vote,
- Be a resident of this state and the county, city or village for at least 30 days before the election,
- Not be in prison or on parole for a felony conviction (unless parolee pardoned or restored rights of citizenship),
- Not be adjudged mentally incompetent by a court,
- Not claim the right to vote elsewhere.
All about absentee ballots.
Absentee ballots — the safest way to vote during the pandemic:
Absentee ballots allow voters to mail their votes rather than submit them in person. All New Yorkers can vote by mail in the June 23, 2020 election, per an Executive Order from Governor Cuomo, by requesting an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots must be requested by Tuesday, June 16th, 2020, and received by a Board of Elections by June 23rd, in person, or by mail.
- Go to this website – www.nycabsentee.com – and your ballot will be mailed to the address you request. The Governor also required county Boards of Elections to mail absentee ballot applications to all eligible voters, which you can complete and return to receive the ballot. Make sure to check “temporary illness” as your excuse for needing an absentee.
- You may also download a PDF version of the New York State
Early voting for state and federal primaries:
- June 13, 2020 – June 21, 2020. You can vote early in-person between the dates above for the June 23rd, 2020 election. YOUR EARLY VOTING POLLING SITE MAY BE DIFFERENT FROM YOUR REGULAR POLLING SITE.
CHECK HERE FOR YOUR SITE: https://nyc.pollsitelocator.com/search
- You may also vote in person on June 23rd, 2020 if you do not apply for an absentee ballot. See below for the pros and cons of in-person voting.
Risks of in-person vs absentee voting.
Risks of voting in person:
- More difficult to social distance, potential exposure to COVID-19.
Risks of absentee voting:
- After you request an absentee ballot, there are many steps before your vote is submitted. This increases the risk of it being unintentionally lost. Also, there is a higher chance that you will make a mistake on the form and invalidate your vote.
- In 2008, 3.9 million requested ballots were never received; 2.9 million ballots mailed to voters were never returned, and 800,000 returned ballots were rejected.
Absentee voting vs. voting-by-mail.
These differences are important because states that do not already have vote-by-mail (VBM) systems in place will face challenges when transitioning to VBM due to the coronavirus. Voters may be confused about how to request a mailed ballot or about how to deliver their ballot.
- Voters need to request a ballot and if eligible, is sent one by mail or email,
- All states allow for some form of absentee voting,
- 33 states, including the District of Columbia, have “no-excuse absentee voting” so that voters may apply for an absentee ballot without providing justification,
- 17 states still require justification for absentee voting.
- All registered voters are mailed ballots but are still given the option to vote in person at a polling site.
Tips and Tricks
One of the best ways to push yourself to vote is to create a specific voting plan, which means when, where, and how you’re going to vote. A 2010 Harvard study shows that having such a plan in place increased voter turnout by 9.1%. Here’s what you can do:
- Take the time to research where your local polling place is and how to get there.
- Figure out your schedule ahead of time and determine what specific time you can go to the polling station.
- Get some voting buddies to accompany you to the polls! Peer pressure in the name of democracy is A-OK.