Primary season in New York is upon us, but like so much in New York politics, it’s not going to be simple, as the redistricting process threw the scheduled elections into chaos. Here’s everything you need to know about registering to vote ahead of the June 28 primary.
Why are there two primaries this year?
Primaries for Assembly and statewide offices — including the races for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller, and U.S. Senate — will still take place on June 28.
But a decision by an upstate judge moved congressional and state Senate primaries from June 28 to Aug. 23 so a court-appointed special master could redraw the Democratic-drawn maps based on the 2020 Census. The state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, rejected the original maps.
When do I have to register to vote for the June primary?
Friday, June 3 is the last day to register in person, online, or to send a postmarked application. The Board of Elections must receive mailed applications by June 8.
How do I register to vote for the June primary?
Here’s a full list of your options to register to vote:
- You can register in person at your county Board of Elections. There is one in each borough.
- You can also apply to register to vote at a host of New York State agency offices. See a full list.
- You can request that a voter registration application form be mailed to you on the state Board of Elections website, or you can call 1-800-FOR-VOTE.
- You can submit that voter application form to your local DMV. You can also register to vote on the DMV website if you already have a DMV-issued ID, such as a driver’s license.
- The state Board of Elections website makes a registration form available on its website. It can be either filled out on a computer and then printed out, or it can be printed and filled out by hand. Once filled out, it must be mailed to your county Board of Elections by June 3 and recieved by June 8.
- City residents can also call 1-866-VOTE-NYC to request a mail registration application.
For more information on registering to vote, see the BOE’s website.
When do I have to submit a change to my voter registration address?
If you move, you should notify the Board of Elections immediately. A state law requires a New Yorker to notify the BOE within 25 days of an address change to preserve their voting rights.
Your county board of elections must receive notice of changes of address by June 8 and be processed in time for the primary. The earlier you submit a change of address, the more likely it will be processed in time for primary day.
I did not list party affiliation on my voter registration or I want to vote in a different primary than the party I am registered with. Can I?
No. New York has a closed primary system, meaning only registered voters affiliated with a political party can vote in that party’s primary.
How do I switch my party registration?
It is too late to switch your party registration for the 2022 primaries, according to the state Board of Elections. The deadline was Feb. 14, 2022.
Which parties have primaries in June?
Not all primary races will be competitive, but Democrats and Republicans will hold primaries in June for Assembly and statewide offices.
The Conservative Party and the Working Families Party will have primaries as well, though most are uncompetitive.
I’m a victim of domestic violence and I wish my party affiliation to be confidential. How do I do that?
New York election law allows victims of domestic violence to apply for confidential registration. Voters concerned they are under the threat of physical and emotional harm to themselves or a household member can submit a sworn statement that will keep their voting registration record secret from the public and other persons other than election officials acting “within the course and scope of their official duties” for four years, according to the state Board of Elections.
You can find the form to submit a sworn statement here.
How do I apply for an absentee ballot?
You can apply in-person at your local county board of elections or by designating another person to deliver your application in-person.
In-person applications can be made all the way up to the day before election day, June 27.
Election day, June 28, is the last day for an absentee ballot to be mailed or submitted in-person by your designated representative. If mailed, it must be received by July 5.
Who qualifies for an absentee ballot?
Notably, risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 is still considered a qualifying reason to request an absentee ballot, effectively allowing all New Yorkers to request one.
According to the state Board of Elections, the following groups of registered voters qualify:
- Absent from your county or, if a resident of New York City absent from the five boroughs, on Election Day.
- Unable to appear at the polls due to temporary or permanent illness or disability (temporary illness includes being unable to appear due to risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease like COVID-19).
- Unable to appear because you are the primary care giver of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled.
- A resident or patient of a Veterans Health Administration Hospital.
- Detained in jail awaiting Grand Jury action or confined in prison after conviction for an offense other than a felony.
I’m a military service member, merchant marine, a military or merchant marine family member living away from their voting district, or a citizen living outside the United States and I need an absentee ballot, but I’m not registered to vote.
June 3 is the last day for unregistered voters who qualify for an absentee ballot to submit an application.
I’ve previously registered, but now the Board of Elections is saying I am not. What happened?
The New York City Board of Elections has a history of dysfunction and error, including accidentally purging thousands of eligible voters from the voter rolls.
However, voters can be labeled as inactive after five years if they do not vote in two consecutive federal elections, according to the city’s board of elections. If this happens to you, you must re-register to vote before June 3 in order to vote in the June 28 primary.
When do I have to register to vote for the August primary?
For the Aug. 23 primary, July 29 is the final day for the state Board of Elections to receive a voter registration application in-person or online or for a postmarked ballot to be mailed.
Aug. 8 is the final day for change of address processing.
When is early voting? How do I find my polling place? What happens if I’m turned away on election day? What do I need to vote? Who is on the ballot?
For these questions and more voting frequently asked questions, keep your eye out for our upcoming voters guide.