New Yorkers may claim to have the best of many things. Yet it’s not a boast citizens can make about their voter turnout. In fact, 2014 NY elections voter participation saw the state place fourth from the bottom in terms of turnout.
Given all the good reasons to vote, it’s astounding how few New Yorkers manage to get out and vote.
Registering to Vote
It’s not difficult to register to vote in New York. First, check that you meet these qualifications:
- be a United States citizen;
- be 18 years old by December 31 of the year in which you file this form (note: you must be 18 years old by the date of the general, primary or other election in which you want to vote);
- live at your present address at least 30 days before an election;
- not be in prison or on parole for a felony conviction and;
- not be adjudged mentally incompetent by a court;
- not claim the right to vote elsewhere.
"Only 53.6% of people who could vote in the 2012 U.S. presidential election actually did so."
In New York you register through the Board of Elections, at least 25 days before the next election. You can register in person or by mail, using a New York Voter Registration Form. Since the next general election is November 8:
- In person registration closes Oct. 14. Register at your county Board of Elections (BoE) or an .
- Mail-in voter registration forms must be postmarked by midnight, October 14 and received by a board of elections no later than October 19.
New Yorkers can also register to vote online through the NY DMV using the Electronic Voter Registration Application.
"Turnout has consistently hovered around 50 percent for the past nine U.S. presidential elections—the highest being 56.9 percent in 2008."
To check the status of your voter registration, visit the BoE’s NY Voter Registration Search page.
Helping Get out the Vote
Once registered to vote, there are still ways to do more to celebrate one of the nation’s oldest and most important entitlements. One is to become a pollworker. This paid position prepares polling places, process voters, demonstrates voting procedures and helps canvass and report the results.
Many organizations also welcome NYC volunteers to help get out the vote:
- Rock the Vote aims to build political power among young voters. They offer tools for hosting a voter registration event, a mobile-friendly online voter registration tool, and other free, fun tools to .
- offers support for canvassing offers, voter contact scripts and legal review of programs to be sure they remain legally compliant.
- AIGA members can contribute posters to the professional design association’s Get out the Vote campaign. Not a member? Share some of the nonpartisan posters and videos on your own social channels using #GetOutTheVote or #AIGAvote.
You can also help others register by printing off several state registration forms and taking clipboards, cheap pens, and a positive attitude and polite courtesy to community events, conferences or even concerts. Register friends and family. Registers people stuck in line at movies, ticket windows, the cable store, or the DMV.
Of course, registering to vote is only part of the process. It’s important also to get out and vote. Science has shown that making a plan to vote in terms of where, when and how makes people more likely to do so. Consider this another approach to take in getting out the vote — ask others to make a plan beforehand. Locate a New York election polling place on the NY Voter page.
Syal, S. and Ariely, N. (2016, September 1). How science can help get out the vote. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-science-can-help-get-out-the-vote/
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