One Vote Does Count
The right to vote is one of the most cherished rights that we have as United States citizens. Our system of government has remained strong throughout history because it is based on the fair and democratic election of our representatives.
Voting is also an important responsibility. The individuals you help choose to represent you at the local, state and national levels of government will make decisions that can significantly affect your life and the lives of your family, friends and neighbors.
If you are not registered with your local Board of Elections, I urge you to do so. You can obtain voter registration forms and more information by calling your local County Board of Elections or visiting its web site. For your convenience, I have included these phone numbers and web sites in this brochure.
Remember, by exercising your right to vote, you help shape the future of your country, your state and your community.
You must be registered to vote.
You may register if you are or will be 18 years old by December 31 of the year in which you register and are a citizen of the United States. You can vote only if you are 18 by Election Day.
How do I register/re-register?
You can obtain a registration form by calling your County Board of Elections or visiting its web site. Complete it and return it by mail. You can also register by filling out the form at the Board of Elections. Many state agencies, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, also have registration forms available.
When is it necessary that I register/re-register to vote?
* If you are not registered.
* If you havenít voted in the past five years.
* If you have moved to a new address since your last vote.
* If you move within your county, you can re-register with a short form.
How do I become eligible to vote in primary elections?
You must be enrolled with one of the five recognized parties (i.e., Democrat, Republican, Conservative, Independence, Working Families Party) and there must be a Primary Election in that party. You can only vote in the primary for the party in which youíre enrolled.
How do I indicate my party enrollment?
You use the same form used for registration/re-registration. If you are changing your party, the change will not take effect until after the next November General Election.
Where do I vote?
In New York State there is neighborhood voting. Early each September, you should receive a postcard from the Board of Elections. Keep this for future reference. The card is to check if your address as shown is correct. The form also shows the location where you are to vote. If you're voting following completion of the Federal Census, your polling place may have changed. If you are not sure of your voting location, call the Board of Elections.
Can I obtain special help at the polls if I need it?
Yes. Any voter who is visually impaired, may have assistance of any person of his or her choice, except his/her employer or union representative, or two inspectors (one Democrat and one Republican).
How do I cast a write-in vote?
If asked, an inspector will show you where the write-in slots are located on the sample ballot displayed in your polling location. You should be aware that, once you raise the write-in slot, all keys in that column are frozen. You will not be able to change your mind and vote for a name on the machine. (The only exception to this is when two or more candidates are to be chosen. In this case, the machine will not lock so that you can vote for both write-in and ballot candidates.) If you do cast a write-in vote for a person whose name appears on the machine, your vote for that person will not be counted.
How is my vote kept secret?
Your vote is kept secret through a sophisticated system of mechanical and administrative safeguards. For example, the back of the voting machine can only be opened at the beginning of an election and at the close of voting (only totals show).
The number assigned to each voter is an anti-fraud device and in no way reveals for whom the voter casts his or her ballot. It makes it possible to keep an exact record of the number of votes cast on the machine.
How can I vote when I am away from home?
If you are absent from the county because of your occupation, business, vacation, or studies, you can request an Absentee Ballot Application and vote absentee in any Special, Primary, or General Election. The application may be obtained by calling or visiting your County Board of Elections. You may also download an application from its web site. Applications that are mailed must be completed and received by the Board not later than 7 days before the Election.
Note: Any person qualified for an Absentee Ballot may come to the Board of Elections, up through the day preceding the Election, complete the Absentee Ballot Application and cast his or her vote at the Board.
How can I vote when I am ill or disabled?
If you are unable to vote in person because of illness or physical disability, you may vote by Absentee Ballot. Normally, applications for Absentee Ballots must be completed and returned to the Board not later than 7 days before the Election. However, if you become ill or disabled within 10 days of the Election, you may submit the application up until the day before the Election. Persons who are permanently ill or disabled may receive absentee ballots for all future elections by filing a single application. ______________________________________________________________________________
ONE VOTE . . . - Kept Aaron Burr, later charged with treason, from becoming President when the U.S. House of Representatives broke a tie vote of the Electoral College (1800) - Made Texas part of the United States (1845) - Saved President Andrew Johnson from removal from office (1868) - Admitted California, Idaho, Washington and Oregon to the Union (1850, 1890, 1889, 1859)
For more information, contact your county Board of Elections.