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Voting Hurdles Often Keep College Students Away From the Ballot Box
08/26/16 |
Publication Date: 
Friday, August 26, 2016 - 00:00

[H]urdles including proof of residency, absentee ballot use and voter identification...tend to disproportionately affect college students because so many students travel out of state for college. ...

Nine states never accept student IDs, and 21 others only accept them if they meet certain criteria such as an address or expiration date.

Why is this a problem? One University of Michigan study indicated that the number of people getting a driver's license — the most common form of accepted ID at the polls — has declined. In fact, many in younger generations have said they never plan on getting a license. They're too busy. It's too expensive to own a car. They can catch a ride from others, according to another University of Michigan study. 

U.S. Hispanic Influence Extends from the Ballot Box to the Grocery Store
08/26/16 |
Publication Date: 
Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 21:45

The Hispanic/Latino population is expected to comprise 24% of the population by 2040 and 29% by 2060.

Over the next 45 years, 65% of the total growth in the U.S. population is expected to come from Hispanics/Latinos. ...

There are currently 27 million eligible Hispanic/Latinos who are or will be eligible to vote in the 2016 presidential election, making up 12% of the total U.S. electorate. By November, approximately 3.4 million eligible Hispanic-American new voters, 14% of the total Hispanic voting population, will have come of age since the last presidential election. 

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Voting as a Student

As a student, you have a constitutional right to register and vote in the place you truly consider to be “home” — whether that’s your parents’ house, your apartment, or your dorm room. But before you make the important decision about where to vote, make sure you know the voting rules (and sometimes consequences) of registering to vote in that state.

More Info On Student Voting

New York Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 State and Local Primary: September 13

  • Voter Registration Deadline: Friday, August 19

2016 General Election: Tuesday, November 8

  • Voter Registration Deadline: Friday, October 14

For more information visit the New York State Board of Elections website.

Please note that the information in the sections below has not been updated, and refers to the 2015 general election.

During general elections, polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

During primary elections, polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in New York City and the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Erie. In all other counties, polls open at 12 noon and close at 9p.m.

New York DOES NOT have early voting.

How to Find Your Polling Place

Visit the New York State Voter Public Information website.

Contact your County Board of Elections

Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).


Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.

Registration Deadlines

If you are registering by mail, your application must be postmarked 25 days before the election and received no later than the twentieth day before the election 

If you are registering in person, you may register at your local board of elections or any state agency participating in the National Voter Registration Act, on any business day throughout the year but, to be eligible to vote in the State and Local Primary, your application must be received 25 days before the election. 

However, if you have been honorably discharged from the military or have become a naturalized citizen after the registration deadline, you may register in person at the board of elections and vote in the general election held at least ten days after such registration.

How to Check if You Are Registered

Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE or check the New York State Board of Election’s voter registration lookup page here.

How to Register


Individuals may register to vote online in New York.  You will need to create a MyDMV account.  Online voter registration requires that you have a New York State Driver’s License, New York State Learner Permit or New York State Non-Driver ID, and your social security number.  If you have moved, you must first update your address with DMV, which you can do through the same website provided above.  Online applications must be submitted on or before the deadline to be valid for any specific election.

In-Person or by Mail

You may also register to vote in person at your county board of elections.  You can locate your county board here

Voter registration forms may also be downloaded from the New York Board of Elections Website in either English or Spanish.  You may also fill out your form online by typing the necessary information into the PDF form and printing it out, also in either English or Spanish, although these files are larger, so they may take longer to load on computers with slower internet connections.  Applicants can mail completed voter registration forms to their county board of elections.  Contact information for county boards is located here.  Applications must be mailed in at least 25 days before an election you want to vote in to be eligible.

Registration Eligibility

In order to vote, New York law requires that you MUST:

  • be a United States citizen;
  • be 18 years old by December 31 of the year in which you file yoru registration form (note: you must be 18 years old by the date of the general, primary or other election in which you want to vote);
  • live at your present address at least 30 days before an election;
  • not be in prison or on parole for a felony conviction;
  • not be adjudged mentally incompetent by a court; and
  • not claim the right to vote elsewhere.

Identification Required for Registration

The New York Voter Registration Application asks voters to provide a DMV identification number (either a driver’s license number or a non-driver ID number) or else the last four digits of their Social Security Number.                                        

If a voter does not have either a DMV or Social Security Number, she or he may use one of the following acceptable forms of ID to establish her or his identity:

  • a valid photo ID;
  • a copy of a current utility bill;
  • a bank statement;
  • a paycheck;
  • a government check; or
  • some other government document that shows the applicant's name and address.

An applicant may include a copy of one of those types of ID with their voter registration form.  If an applicant’s identity cannot be verified before Election Day, she or he will be asked for ID when she or he votes for the first time. 

If You Want to Vote Early

New York does not have early voting.

If You Want to Vote Absentee

The following persons are qualified to vote by absentee ballot:

  • Persons who will be absent from their county or, if a resident of New York City absent from said city, on Election Day;
  • Persons who will be unable to appear at the polls due to temporary or permanent illness or disability; or because they are the primary care giver of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled;
  • Patients or inmates in a Veterans' Administration Hospital; and
  • Persons who will be detained in jail awaiting Grand Jury action or confined in prison after conviction for an offense other than a felony.

Procedures for Voting by Absentee Ballot

Voters who meet the absentee ballot requirements may vote absentee by mail or in person.

In Person

Visit your county board of elections office (find yours here).  You can pick up an application, fill it out, and deliver it to the county board through the day before the election.

By Mail

You can request the application online, by sending a letter to your county board of elections, or by picking it up from your county board in person.  If applying by mail, the county board office must receive the absentee ballot application no earlier than 30 days and no later than seven days prior to the election.  Your letter must include the following information:

  • the address where you are registered;
  • an address where the ballot is to be sent;
  • the reason for the request; and
  • the signature of the voter.

Your ballot must be returned to your county board by the close of polls on Election Day, 9:00p.m.on the day of the election.  Be sure to carefully follow the instructions on your absentee ballot.  You may return the ballot personally or by mail.  You may also have another person return the ballot for you, but you must first indicate that person’s name on your absentee ballot application.

You must sign the oath on the envelope used to return the absentee ballot.  If you cannot sign the oath on your absentee ballot envelope because of illness, physical disability or illiteracy, you must make your mark and have the mark witnessed by someone you designate.

Voting in Person after Requesting an Absentee Ballot

If you requested an absentee ballot, you can only vote at your polling place on Election Day if you provide the poll workers at your precinct a certificate from the County Board that your absentee ballot has been returned to the board unmarked.  

Identification Requirements to Register to Vote

Applicant must provide either a valid DMV identification number (driver’s license or non-driver ID) or the last four digits of your social security number.  An applicant who does not have one of these forms of ID can use the following:

  • a valid photo ID;
  • a copy of a current utility bill;
  • a bank statement;
  • a paycheck;
  • a government check; or
  • some other government document that shows the applicant's name and address.

The New York Voter Registration Application states that one must attach an ID to the application if one is registering for the first time in the county.  If an applicant does not provide this identification information at the time of application, he/she will be required to provide this information when voting.

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

If an applicant does not provide this identification information at the time of application, he/she will be required to provide this information when voting.

If you move to a new county you must re-register to vote.  Send your voter registration form with the new information to your new county board of elections.  You can obtain a Voter Registration Form from your local board of elections or any state agency participating in the National Voter Registration Act (a list of participating agencies is available here), on any business day throughout the year.  You can also download the form here in English or Spanish.  You cannot vote in your new county until you re-register to vote there.

Special services are provided to assist military and overseas civilian voters participate in elections.  If you are a military or overseas civilian voter who is eligible to vote in New York, you can find out more at the New York Secretary of State Board of Elections site here.

Military and overseas citizens can also use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), also known as Standard Form 76, to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) New York-specific FPCA page.

Military and overseas citizens can send and receive voting materials by fax and email.  If you wish to use the fax or email options, you must indicate this on your FPCA.  Instructions for doing so are found on the FVAP's New York-specific FPCA page.

Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) if they are concerned with receiving their printed ballot and returning it by close of polls on Election Day.  The FWAB is a blank ballot on which voters write-in their choices.  The FWAB may also be used  to register to vote and to apply for the absentee ballot, all in one step.  If the FWAB is being used to register to vote, it must be received by the voter registration deadline.  For specific instructions, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's New York page to download the form.

A person who has been convicted of a felony (either under New York law, federal law, or another state’s law if that offense would also be a crime in New York) may not vote unless:

  • The person’s maximum sentence of imprisonment has expired;
  • The person has been discharged from parole;
  • The person has been pardoned or restored to the rights of citizenship by the governor (for offenses under New York law);
  • The person has been pardoned by the president (for federal offenses);
  • The person has been pardoned by the governor or other appropriate authority in the state where she/he was convicted;
  • The person has not been sentenced to either imprisonment or death; or
  • The person’s sentence of imprisonment has been suspended.

However, the governor of New York may grant a pardon that does not restore a person’s voting rights until it is later restored separately.

FAQ **not yet updated since 2015**

Top Issues to Field **not yet updated since 2014**

For more information for voters with disabilities, visit the National Disability Rights Network’s voting resource center.

For more information for student voters, visit the New York Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

2016 Election Information for your state