A voter during the 2017 election in NYC (ALBA VIGARAY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
New York’s state primary is only four weeks away, on Thursday, September 13. Yes, New York is the only state with two primary elections this year and, yes, it’s on a Thursday, instead of Tuesday, this time around so that voting would not conflict with September 11 or the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.
These are the primary races for governor, attorney general and the legislature, among others. In order to cast a ballot for preferred candidates, you must register to vote — and register with a party — by August 19. (That’s really soon!) Here’s how to do it:
Register by mail. Send an application (PDF) to the Board of Elections. The application must be postmarked by August 19 (again, a Sunday, so plan ahead) and received by August 24.
The deadline to register and vote in the statewide primary election on Thursday, September 13, is less than a week away! Submit your registration form to the Board of Elections by August 19 at the latest to make sure your vote counts in this election! pic.twitter.com/umrtvFjI0U
Register in person. Apply over-the-counter at a Board of Elections office or a participating state agency, like the Department of Motor Vehicles. Unless you find a state agency with weekend hours, tell yourself the deadline to register in person is Friday, August 17.
Register online. You may register online through the Department of Motor Vehicles. You need a New York state driver’s license, permit or non-driver ID issued by the DMV to do it. Keep in mind that the DMV’s system crashed ahead of the voter registration deadline in 2016. So, don’t wait until the last minute (more so).
The August 19 deadline also applies for registered voters who want to change their address.
Want to change your party affiliation? Sorry, you can’t do that for the upcoming primary. According to New York election law, party affiliation must be changed at the time of the previous general election. The law is meant to protect, perhaps overzealously, the idea that members of a party should be choosing their own candidates.
If you want to change your party, look ahead and act now. The deadline is October 12, 2018 (which is 25 days before the general election on November 6, as stipulated by law).
So many dates, so many rules.
If you’re of the mind that participating in civic life could, possibly, be a lot easier and more clear for people, then know we are right there with you. We’ve heard about the hurdles—or even brick walls—people run into when trying to do things like vote, volunteer, form a block association, sway a City Council vote… you get the picture. There can be a lot of procedures to wade through, meetings to attend, or it just takes time to find the right number to call.
That’s where I come in. Me!
From now until November 6, I’m taking people’s questions on how to navigate civic life in this city. Look out for more on this project in the coming days, but in the meantime, feel free to tweet me @yasmeenkhan. I’ll be the one fielding questions and setting out to find answers for you. So bring it.
Listen to Yasmeen Khan discuss the voter registration deadlines for the primary on Morning Edition: