This November, New Yorkers will vote in an important citywide General Election. The General Election will decide the outcome of a number of critical races for Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough Presidents, and a majority of the 51 City Council seats. These key governmental positions will affect our daily lives and determine how we address issues that matter most to New Yorkers, including housing, education, jobs, how the City spends its money, and public safety.
By voting in local elections New Yorkers can preserve democracy, ensure our voices are heard, and help shape our communities. By knowing our rights, registering voters, making voting plans, and educating our communities on new voting systems, we can safeguard our democracy and move toward greater civic engagement across all five boroughs.
Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, there are safe and easy ways to register to vote in New York:
In order to register to vote you must:
You can check your voter registration status online, or by calling the Board of Elections at 866-868-3692.
The deadline to register to vote in New York is May 28, 2021.
Registration forms sent through the mail (including forms created through the NYC Votes TurboVote platform) must be postmarked no later than May 28 and received by your local County Board of Elections no later than June 2. Forms sent via myDMVonline or completed in-person must be submitted by May 28. In New York, voters must be registered 25 days before an election to be able to vote in that election. If you are planning to register to vote by mail it would be best to do so as soon as possible, given possible delays with the United States Postal Service.
You should update your voter registration with a new address or name. Making these changes is simple.
If the change of address was not processed (or never submitted), and you have moved within New York, you still have the right to vote! You may cast an affidavit ballot at your assigned poll site for your new address. This applies to voters who moved within the same county (e.g., from one Brooklyn (Kings County) address to another Brooklyn address) or between counties (e.g., from Queens to the Bronx). When casting an affidavit ballot due to an address change, the affidavit ballot will be used to update your voter registration for future elections.
All New Yorkers have three ways to vote. Choose the best option to make your voice heard during the pandemic.
Voting in person is safe as long as you follow the Core 4, especially if you choose to go when your voting center is less busy (usually mid-morning or early afternoon). If you can, take advantage of early voting to beat the crowds. NYS has also made absentee ballots available for anyone who prefers to vote from home. Choose whichever you are most comfortable with - the important thing is that you vote!
Wear a face covering Face coverings are required to enter all polling sites. Protect those around you and wear a face covering correctly (over your nose and mouth).
Practice physical distancing Polling sites will be set up to enforce social distancing. Follow instructions and stay at least 6 feet away from others while at your polling site.
Practice healthy hand hygiene Polling sites will provide hand sanitizer, and you can also bring your own. Use hand sanitizer before and after touching any shared surfaces and wash your hands with soap and water immediately after you get home. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
Stay home if you are sick Voting is important, but it's more important that you get better before you leave your home and that you take actions to help prevent others from getting sick.
If you don't have an absentee ballot, contact your county's Board of Elections office for guidance about your voting options.
New York does not require voters to show identification when voting, except in one circumstance. If you are voting for the first time, and you did not register to vote in-person (i.e., you registered online or via mail), you may be asked to show ID the first time you vote only. You may use the following as ID: driver's license or other government-issued identification card, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document that shows your name and address.
Yes, you can bring someone to assist you with voting for any reason (including language access). You can also request assistance from the poll workers or you can use a Ballot Marking Device ("BMD") to help you mark your ballot at the poll site. However, anyone who assists you cannot be your employer nor your union representative.
A Ballot Marking Device, also known as a BMD, is a device that can assist you in marking your paper ballot and designed to provide privacy and accessibility to voters at their polling site.
Yes. All voters, including voters with disabilities, have the right to use a Ballot Marking Device to mark their ballot. The BMD is only used to mark the paper ballot; you need to scan the marked ballot in the counting device to cast your vote. Poll site workers can help voters use the BMDs.
You want to make sure your vote is counted. If you have any questions or concerns about casting your ballot that aren't answered here, reach out to these organizations for help.
New York City Board of Elections: 866-VOTE-NYC
New York State Board of Elections
Common Cause Election Protection hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE
League of Women Voters
Disability Rights New York