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Frequently Asked Questions
About Voting in NYC

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What is a primary election?

A primary election determines which candidate will receive a party’s nomination for an elected office, and is only held when two or more candidates have successfully completed all the steps to get on the ballot for the primary. The winner of a primary election runs as the party’s nominee in the general election held in November.

You can only vote in a primary election held by the party YOU belong to. For example, if you are a registered member of the Working Families Party, you can only vote in the Working Families Party primary, not the Democratic or Republican primary.

Can I vote in the primary election?

If you are a registered voter who is enrolled (by the deadline) in a party that is holding a primary election, you can vote in the primary.

What is a general election and can I vote in that?

In the general election, candidates from different parties compete to win elected office. You can vote for any candidate running on any party line for each office on the ballot.  You can also vote “yes” or “no” on ballot proposals.  All voters who registered by the deadline are eligible to vote in the general election.

I don't know if I'm registered to vote--how can I find out?

Use the Voter Registration Look-up (run by the NY State Board of Elections) to check your registration status online, or call the voter hotline for assistance.

Could my registration have expired?

Your registration has no expiration date, but it may have been cancelled if you moved and did not update your address with the BOE.

What if I moved (within New York City) since the last time I voted?

When you move, New York State law requires you to change your address with the BOE within 25 days. You do this by submitting a new voter registration form and filling in the information on the form, including information in the box labeled “Voting information that has changed.” Fill in your new and old address, check the box for the party you wish to be enrolled in (do this even if you were enrolled in a party at your old address), and provide any other requested information. If you moved but you didn’t change your address before the deadline, you should go to your NEW polling place and vote by affidavit ballot. Call the voter hotline to find out whether your change of address has been processed.

What if they can't find my name on the list when I sign in to vote?

First, make sure you are signing in at the correct table for your assembly and election district. These district numbers are printed on the mailing label of your Voter Guide and provided on the mailer the BOE sends to all registered voters each August. A poll worker is available at each poll site to look up your name and address and determine which district you live in if you need assistance.

Once you confirm that you are signing in at the correct table, if you are not on the poll list, it may be because the BOE did not receive your registration form. If you believe that you are eligible, you can still vote. Ask a poll worker for an affidavit ballot, and follow the instructions. After the election, the BOE will check its records and your vote will be counted if you were eligible to vote. If not, you will receive a notice that you were not eligible to vote with a registration form for future elections.

What if I can't get to my polling place on Election Day?

Registered voters who cannot make it to their polling site on Election Day because of occupation, business, studies, travel, imprisonment (other than a convicted felon), illness, disability, hospitalization, or residence in a long-term care facility can vote by absentee ballot. There are two ways to vote by absentee ballot: by mail or in person. Find out more here.

Please note: If the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot by mail has passed and you cannot appear at your poll site on Election Day because of an accident or sudden illness, then you may send a representative to your borough office with a written letter of authorization to receive an absentee ballot on your behalf. A completed application and your completed ballot must be returned to the BOE office in your borough by 9:00 p.m. on Election Day.