N.Y.: Register to vote and enroll in a political party in time for New York’s primary elections

January 31, 2022

This year is a big election year in New York. Not only are all 213 members of the state Legislature up for reelection, but the state also will be voting for statewide offices: governor, comptroller, and attorney general. If you want to make sure your vote is counted, there are some key dates you need to be aware of regarding registration and party enrollment should you choose to do so.

Registering to vote

If you are unsure if you already are registered, you can look up your status with the Voter Lookup feature from the New York State Board of Elections. If you already are registered, make sure your information is up to date and if it’s not, submit a voter application (explained below) to make any corrections to your name, address or phone number, or if you want to enroll or cancel your enrollment from a political party.

If you are not already registered to vote, there are a few things you need to be aware of. First, you must be eligible to vote. This means you must:

  • be a U.S. citizen;
  • be 18 years old (you may pre-register at 16 or 17 but cannot vote until you are 18);
  • be a resident of New York state and the county, city or village for at least 30 days before the election;
  • not be in prison for a felony conviction;
  • not be adjudged mentally incompetent by a court; and
  • not claim the right to vote elsewhere.

How to register

New York has made it easy to register by offering multiple ways and formats for registration. People can register in-person at their county boards of elections or at any New York state agency-based voter registration center. People also may submit their voter application forms at the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, either in-person or on the DMV website if they already have DMV-issued identification. Additionally, people can request a New York State Voter Registration form by mail by entering their names directly into the mailing list database, or they can call 1-800-FOR-VOTE(1-800-367-8683) to request a voter application.

Enrolling in a political party

Eligible voters can enroll in a political party when they register to vote or they can choose to be an unenrolled voter, which means they do not have a political party affiliation when they vote. This means voters cannot vote in the party primary in June because New York has a closed primary system.

If you already are registered and are an unenrolled voter, you can enroll in a political party at any time by submitting a voter registration form to your county BOE. However, to be eligible to vote in a party primary in June, your form with your enrollment change must be received by the BOE by Monday, Feb. 14, 2022, otherwise it will not be processed until after the primary election.

Get involved

If you want to get involved with PIANY’s legislative and advocacy work, here are a few ways to engage with your association:

About the author…

Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez, Ph.D.

Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez, Ph.D., joined PIA’s Government & Industry Affairs team in 2018 as government and industry affairs specialist. Now, as the PAC coordinator & public policy analyst, she is responsible for managing political action committees in New York and New Jersey; tracking legislation and regulations; helping manage the association’s advocacy initiatives throughout the Northeast states; and drafting position statements and testimonies. Kat previously worked as a Senate fellow for the New York State Senate Fellowship Program; as well as an instructor of public policy at the State University of Albany, Albany, N.Y. She also worked as a senior research aid and assistant for the SUNY Research Foundation, Albany, N.Y. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the State University of Albany, Albany, N.Y., in May 2020. She also has her Master of Arts from SUNY Albany and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Elmira College, Elmira, N.Y.

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