2013 Voter Guide

Voting Q & A

What is a general election?

A general election is when nominees from various political parties compete for government office. This includes winners of the September 10 primaries and candidates running on independent party lines. New York City has many political parties, and as a voter you must decide which candidate will best serve your interests.

Can I vote in the November 5th general election?

If you are registered to vote in New York City, you can (and should) vote on November 5th. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Registered voters receive a notice in the mail from the BOE with the address of their poll site and other information about voting. If you didn’t get a notice, you might not be registered. You can check by calling 866-VOTE-NYC or look up your registration online at voter look up.

What are ballot proposals?

A ballot proposal is a question placed on the ballot for voters to decide. This year, there are six proposed amendments to the New York State Constitution on the ballot. The State Senate and Assembly have passed these amendments but they are subject to the will of the voters, meaning you can vote to accept or reject them. Learn more about each proposal.

What will I be voting on in the general election?

You will be voting to elect the mayor, public advocate, comptroller, borough president, and City Council member in your district. You may also be voting in other races not covered in this Voter Guide, such as Assembly member or District Attorney.

You can vote for any candidate running on any party line for these offices, no matter what party you are enrolled in.

You will also be voting on six NYS ballot proposals that will amend the State Constitution in various ways if approved by the voters.

How do I register to vote?

It is too late to register to vote in this year’s general election (the deadline was October 11, 2013). But if you aren’t registered, please register now for future elections! Fill out a voter registration form and submit it in person or by mail with the NYC Board of Elections (BOE). You can download a registration form from the BOE’s website, pick one up at your local BOE office, or call 866-VOTE-NYC to request one by mail.

Could my registration have expired?

Your registration has no expiration date, but it may have been canceled if you moved and did not update your address with the BOE, or if you have not voted in the past two federal elections. Call 866-VOTE-NYC or check online at voter look up.

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

When you move, you must 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 with the BOE before the deadline, you should go to your NEW polling place and vote by affidavit ballot. Call 866-VOTE-NYC 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 on the mailer the BOE sends to all registered voters each August. You can also ask a poll worker for help, or check the poll site locator on the BOE’s website.

If you are at the right table but 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 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?

You can vote by absentee ballot if you are unable to get to your polling place because of occupation, business, studies, travel, imprisonment (other than for a felony conviction), illness, disability, hospitalization, or if you are a resident in a long-term care facility. There are two ways to vote by absentee ballot: by mail or in person.

To vote absentee by mail, call 866-VOTE-NYC to request an absentee ballot application or download it at www.vote.nyc.ny.us. Fill out the application and mail it to your BOE borough office. Applications must be postmarked by October 29, 2013. The BOE will send you an absentee ballot. Fill it out and mail it (postmarked by November 4, 2013) to your BOE borough office.

Absentee voting in person: Absentee voting in person begins as soon as the ballots are available (at least 32 days before an election) and ends on Election Day. It is conducted at your BOE borough office Mon.-Fri. and on the weekend prior to Election Day, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on Election Day.

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, you can send a representative to your BOE borough office with a written letter of authorization to obtain an absentee ballot on your behalf. A completed application and your completed ballot must be returned to your BOE borough office by 9:00 p.m. on November 5th.