Voters must re-register if they failed to vote in two...

Voters must re-register if they failed to vote in two consecutive federal elections. Credit: James Carbone

ALBANY — New Yorkers who have yet to register to vote have until Oct. 14 to get their registration forms to their county board of elections office if they want to vote in the Nov. 8 elections.

Here are some things you need to know to register, to update your registration and to make sure you are registered for the general election:

Qualifications to vote

To vote, a person must be registered, a U.S. citizen 18 years old or older, not be in prison or on parole for a felony conviction, and not be found incompetent by a court. In addition, a voter can’t claim to vote elsewhere. New Yorkers who are 16 or 17 years old can register to vote, but can’t vote until they are 18 years old.

The registration process requires an application to attest to these conditions and sign the official document.

What documents you need

Applicants must provide their driver’s license number, identification number, date of birth, email address, and the last four digits of his or her Social Security number. The identification number and document number are on a driver’s license, learner’s permit or nondriver identification card number. The identification number has nine digits and is located on the front and near the top of the license, permit or ID card. The document number is on the back of the license, permit or ID card and has 8 or 10 characters that include numbers and letters.

Registering by mail or in person

Mail-in registrations must be postmarked no later than Oct. 14 and must be received at the voter’s county board of elections by Oct. 19 for a voter to be eligible to vote in this year’s general election.

New Yorkers may register to vote in person at their local board of elections or at one of many state agency offices, including Department of Motor Vehicles offices that participate in the National Voter Registration Act. But the application must be submitted no later than Oct. 14.

Registering online

New Yorkers may register online through the state Department of Motor Vehicles at https://voterreg.dmv.ny.gov/MotorVoter/ after providing some information. 

The state also provides an online site to request a registration form at https://www.elections.ny.gov/VoterRegSite/VoterRegistration. Once received, the registration form must be signed and mailed to the local board of elections. There are English and Spanish versions of this and most state forms.

Confirming registration or re-registering

Voters must re-register if they failed to vote in two consecutive federal elections. New Yorkers may confirm online whether they are registered or whether they need to re-register. They also can determine their polling and early voting sites and their election districts. The state voter lookup is at https://voterlookup.elections.ny.gov/ .

Changing address, name, gender, party enrollment

A registered voter who has changed their address must make sure the completed form is received by Oct. 19 at the local board of elections. Voters may update their name, address, gender or party enrollment by using the voter registration form. These updates must be made at least 20 days before a special, primary or general election and processed in time for Election Day.

College students

By state law, college students may register to vote from their college address or from their family address. The state League of Women Voters advises that if a student has trouble registering through their on-campus or off-campus address, they should contact their student affairs office, the New York Public Interest Research Group or other student organization involved in political activity, or the county board of elections.

Domestic abuse victims

A victim of domestic abuse may complete a confidential form so their address can’t be revealed. They must deliver a sworn statement to their local board of elections that requests their voter registration be kept confidential because of the threat of violence, according to the state Board of Elections. The record will be kept separate from other registrations for four years. Victims of domestic abuse also may be excused from voting at a polling place by obtaining a special ballot. More information is available at local boards of elections.

Applying to vote by absentee ballot

Registered voters may request an absentee ballot online or by mail by Oct. 24. A voter may request an absentee ballot in person at a board of elections office until Nov. 7, the day before the general election. The absentee ballot must be received by mail or dropped off by the voter at  local boards of elections by Nov. 8, before the close of polls at 9 p.m. The form to apply for an absentee ballot is online at https://absenteeballot.elections.ny.gov/ or a site created for the visually impaired at https://absenteeballot.elections.ny.gov/home/accessible.

A prospective voter also can designate another person to deliver an application to local boards of elections and receive a ballot.

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