New York’s Elections: Make Your Voice Heard

Voting Booths
All eyes are on the upcoming elections where voters across New York will be electing representatives to their local municipal governments, and all voters will have the opportunity to vote on five ballot proposals. Municipal governments make decisions on many of the day-to-day services that we receive – making a big impact on your local community. NYPIRG’s nonpartisan voter mobilization project is committed to promoting political participation, safeguarding voter rights, and ensuring access to voter polls – whether by mail or in person – for all eligible New Yorkers.
Be ready for the 2021 elections:

Important Dates for the Upcoming General Election:

  • NYPIRG Voter Registration Trainings: September 14th and 22nd
  • National Voter Registration Day: September 28th
  • Voter registration deadline: October 8th
  • Absentee ballot application deadline (mail or online): October 18th
  • Early voting period: October 23rd through October 31st
  • General Election Day: November 2nd

Check Your Registration Status and Find Your Poll Site

  • Check your voter registration status to verify that you are registered and make sure that your voter information is updated and accurate. If you recently registered, or updated your registration, changes may take a few weeks to appear on the website.
    If your registration status is found, you can also look up your poll site for both the early voting period and for Election Day. Your poll site for early voting may be different than your poll site on Election Day. Poll sites and hours of operation vary by county for early voting.
  • You can also contact your county Board of Elections to ensure that you are registered.

Make a Voting Plan

Once you are registered to vote, how do you want to cast your ballot? This year, New York voters can choose between these three options:

1. Voting in person during the early voting period:

  • You can avoid longer lines and skip the post office by casting your ballot during New York's early voting period. Look up your early voting poll site here.
  • Every county must have at least one early voting poll site.

2. Voting in person on Election Day:

  • You can go to the polls on Election Day (Tuesday, November 2) and cast your ballot.

*Your assigned early voting poll site may not be the same location as your Election Day poll site. Look up your poll sites for early voting and for Election Day.

3. Voting by mail using an absentee ballot:

  • You can download an absentee ballot application (in English or Spanish), and get additional information and instructions, from the New York State Board of Elections absentee voting webpage.
  • Or you can apply for an absentee ballot by visiting or contacting your county Board of Elections.
  • Once your application is accepted, you will receive a hard-copy ballot through the mail.
  • You can then complete your ballot and drop it off or mail it in.
  • If mailed in, your ballot must be postmarked no later than November 2. You must add stamps to mail your ballot for this election. While weights may differ by county, advocates are suggesting at least two forever stamps to meet the weight requirements.
  • Your ballot can also be dropped off at an early voting poll site from October 23 through October 31, or at an Election Day poll site on November 2. Look up poll sites for early voting and for Election Day.
  • NEW: If you are a New York City voter, you can track your absentee ballot application.
USPS recommends that voters mail their absentee ballot about seven days ahead of the general election. All absentee ballots must be postmarked by November 2, 2021 for the General Election.
You can still vote in person if you request an absentee ballot. Even if you request or cast (fill out and return) an absentee ballot, you may still go to the polls and vote in person. NY Election Law recognizes that plans change. The Board of Elections is required to check the poll book before canvassing any absentee ballot. If the voter comes to the poll site, on Election Day or during early voting and votes in person, the absentee ballot is set aside and not counted.

Our Impact

Over the past four decades, NYPIRG’s non-partisan voter mobilization campaign has guarded and fought to expand the rights of voters in New York through community outreach, advocacy, media work and litigation. Our work has resulted in:

  • Thousands of new voters registered every year.
  • Expansion of absentee voting, particularly during the pandemic.
  • An expansion to the state’s “Motor Voter” law, which requires all state agencies to offer a voter registration option at the point of using the agency.
  • Sample ballots available online to help familiarize voters and speed up election day lines.
  • Inclusion of email addresses on New York City voter registration forms.

NYPIRG supports voter reforms, including:

  • Elimination of the patronage-controlled Boards of Elections, starting with the merit selection of permanent Board employees across the state.
  • Establishing Online Voter Registration. New York’s requirement for ink signatures on paper voter registration forms has caused major voter disenfranchisement across New York State. The technology to accept digital registration forms exists already. It is high time to allow for online voter registration.
  • Improved Absentee Voting: We support no-excuse absentee ballot access. Additionally, as NYC has recently done, all local NY Boards of Election should allow voters to track their ballots – in the same way as mail delivery purchases are tracked now. This provides confidence in the system and allows for additional time to make alternative plans if needed.
  • Enhanced early voting participation. Since voting is a habit that must be ingrained and supported in the early years of eligibility – which coincide with typical college years – New York should cultivate this habit by supporting voting by students on campus.
  • Allowing voters to register and vote on Election Day. In the interim, New York State should shorten the registration and change of enrollment deadlines to 10 days before the election, the current minimum under the State Constitution.
  • Codifying case law with respect to students voting from a campus-area address.
  • Guidelines for better ballots. Poor ballot design can affect every voter at a poll site. Miniscule fonts, unnecessary graphics and unreadable directions result in spoiled ballots and longer wait times for all.
  • Improved poll worker performance. Voters should come first on Election Day. Unfortunately, for too many, the patronage structure of the Boards puts party loyalty first and public service second. New York can improve poll site conditions immediately by offering time off for state and city employees working the polls, and professionalizing poll worker training so that only qualified and trained staff work the polls.
New York officials split on special ballot proposals  (Adirondak News, October 18, 2021)
Supporters, critics sound off on green amendment, on statewide ballots next month  (Newsday, October 16, 2021)
Hochul wants to 'blow up JCOPE.' But how?  (San Antonio Express News, October 15, 2021)
Voters statewide will have a say on major and minor changes to New York Constitution  (The Buffalo News, October 15, 2021)
House Republican followed Trump's self-dealing model, spent thousands on her own companies: report  (Salon, October 14, 2021)
Why is Gov. Kathy Hochul calling Cynthia Nixon?  (City & State, October 13, 2021)
Firm that hired ex-Cuomo aide received no-bid state contract  (Newsday, October 10, 2021)
Redistricting referendum could extend Democratic enrollment advantage  (Newsday, October 9, 2021)
Gov. Kathy Hochul has had a heck of a New York honeymoon  (City & State, October 8, 2021)
Kathy Hochul wants to clean up Albany. So did the last guy.  (Politico, October 7, 2021)
What the Five Ballot Proposal Questions Mean for New Yorkers this November  (The City, October 5, 2021)
Wall Street dumps shares of Greenidge Generation stock ahead of air emissions hearings on ‘carbon neutral’ bitcoin mining  (Fingerlakes1.com, October 4, 2021)
Make polluters pay, activists tell Schumer: ‘You make a mess, you clean it up’  (NY Daily News, October 3, 2021)
Tish James tiptoes  (Newsday, September 29, 2021)
Kathy Hochul wants to clean up Albany. So did the last guy.  (Politico, September 29, 2021)
New York’s redistricting tests Democratic opposition to gerrymandering  (The Washington Post, September 27, 2021)
In redistricting, big cities have big say in power balance  (The Sentinel Record, September 27, 2021)
State government has a corruption problem, can Sen. Biaggi fix it?  (The Riverdale Press, September 26, 2021)
In redistricting, big say for big cities in DC power balance  (ABC News 12, September 26, 2021)
State government has a corruption problem, can Sen. Biaggi fix it?  (The Riverdale Press, September 26, 2021)
News Archive
NYPIRG Is Hiring: Environmental Policy Director
NYPIRG Is Hiring: New York City Equity and Resiliency Projects Regional Director
NY Congress Members Urge Speaker Pelosi to Make Polluters Pay for Climate Destruction Costs
Upstate New York Likely to Lose Representation in Congressional Delegation and State Senate If New Maps Reflect Changes in Population
NYPIRG Statement on the August 2021 report released by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Release: Leading Climate & Social Justice Organizations Rally Around Make Polluters Pay Plan
Letter: Leading Climate & Social Justice Organizations Rally Around Make Polluters Pay Plan
NYPIRG Calls for Creation of Public Dashboard to Measure Progress Toward New York’s Climate Goals
Letter to DEC: NYPIRG Calls for Clear and Accessible Public Reporting on Climate Progress
Tale of the Tape: NYPIRG’s 2021 Legislative Review
Environmental groups call for a moratorium on the operation of cryptocurrency mining centers
NYPIRG Statement on Passage of Legislation to Ensure All New Yorkers Have Testing for Dangerous Unregulated Contaminants
On Eve Of 50th Anniversary Of NY's Approval Of The 26th Amendment, NYPIRG and120+ College Groups Urge Lawmakers To Approve Legislation Placing Polling Places On Colleges
Council Members, Climate Activists New York City Council to Enact Gas Free NYC Bill to Reduce Air Pollution and Create Green Jobs
NYPIRG Reacts to Closure of Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant
NYPIRG reacts to Census reapportionment numbers - NY will lose one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives
NYPIRG and other watchdog organizations call for hearings into scandals and failures of ethics oversight
2021 State Budget Reaction
Civic Groups urge the New York City Board of Elections to reinstate its public comment period
NYPIRG and New York's leading civic organizations call for an overhaul in ethics enforcement. The coalition urges that the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) be replaced and a new independent ethics watchdog be created.
Reports & Features Archive