The 2020 Elections: Make Your Voice Heard

Voting Booths
All eyes are on the 2020 elections, which will impact the history of this nation and the world. In New York, due to the disruption created by the pandemic, new and seasoned voters alike will be faced with an unfamiliar voting system with shifting guidance from elections administrators. NYPIRG is committed to ensuring that political participation is promoted, voter rights are safeguarded, and access to voter polls — whether by mail or in person — is ensured for all eligible New Yorkers.
Be ready for the 2020 elections:

Important Dates:

  • Voter Registration deadline: October 9, 2020
  • Absentee Ballot application deadline: October 27, 2020
  • Early Voting period: October 24 - November 1, 2020
  • General Election Day: November 3, 2020

Check Your Registration Status

Register to Vote by October 9, 2020

Representative democracy works better when more eligible New Yorkers register and vote. US citizens who are 18 years or older can register (you may pre-register at 16 or 17 but cannot vote until you are 18). You may register to vote online, by mail, or in-person at your county Board of Elections.

Online

By Mail

Confirm Your Status

  • Once you are registered, you should receive a confirmation postcard in the mail after about two weeks. As a newly registered voter, you should confirm your voter information using the State Board of Elections voter look-up tool.

Make a Voting Plan

Once you are registered, how do you want to cast your ballot? This year, voters may choose between voting in-person during the early voting period, voting in-person on Election Day, or voting through the mail using an absentee ballot.
  • As with all our public activities these days, voters should wear a face mask and maintain social distance.
  • Early Voting: Avoid longer lines, skip the post office, and cast your ballot during NY's Early Voting period. This year, the early voting period is October 24 through November 1. Every county must have at least one early voting polling place.
  • Election Day: Voters can still go to the polls on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3 and cast their ballot between 6AM and 9PM.
  • Look up your poll sites for Early Voting and for Election Day (your assigned early voting poll site may not be the same location as your Election Day poll site)
  • Absentee Voting: Due to COVID, any voter can request an absentee ballot this year by filling out an application. 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. Your absentee ballot must be postmarked or dropped off no later than November 3.
    You may also apply by visiting or contacting your local county Board of Elections.
  • *NEW*: NYC voters can now track their absentee ballot application here.

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:

  • 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. A recent report by the Andrew Goodman Foundation studied the impact of Early Voting Sites for college students. Not surprisingly, it found that locating polls on campus led to considerably higher rates of participation by students, people of color and infrequent voters.
  • Codifying Voter Rights for Parolees: New York allows individuals on probation from local correctional facilities to register and vote, but only allows those on parole for New York State felony convictions to register and vote after they receive a Gubernatorial pardon. Studies indicate that community ties, jobs and restoration of civil rights are associated with reduced recidivism rates. Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order to restore voting rights to felons on parole by considering pardons for those who enter the parole system each month. Codifying voter rights for parolees into state law will protect the order from future attacks and will provide clarity to recent parolees.
  • 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.
  • Elimination of the patronage-controlled Boards of Elections, starting with the merit selection of permanent Board employees across the state.
  • 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.
County Election Boards Applying for Charity to Pay for Elections  (Spectrum News, September 14, 2020)
Cuomo urged to release $50 million to prevent COVID-19 election chaos  (New York Post, September 10, 2020)
Watchdogs call for election funding  (Plattsburgh Press-Republican, September 10, 2020)
Two Months To Go And NY Has A New System Of Voting  (WAMC, September 7, 2020)
Blair Horner discusses issues currently facing public higher education and the state budget on The Capitol Connection   (WAMC, September 3, 2020)
Mayor Warren Election Probe Continues to Develop  (Spectrum News, September 2, 2020)
NY Budget Woes Are Coming To A Head  (WAMC, August 31, 2020)
Manhattan elected officials push for ballot drop boxes across New York state  (AM New York, August 31, 2020)
Election finance investigations rare; why Lovely Warren's attracted scrutiny  (13-WHAM TV, August 27, 2020)
Blair Horner: Voting In NY Should Be Easier This November   (WAMC, August 25, 2020)
NY Scrambling For Solutions Ahead Of 2020 Election  (WAMC, August 19, 2020)
How Democrats’ redistricting amendment could give them more power  (City & State, August 4, 2020)
NYPIRG Analysis: Legislature’s Productivity Down This Session  (New York State of Politics, July 28, 2020)
Blair Horner: Lawmakers Return To Albany For An "End" Of Session  (WAMC, July 27, 2020)
New York Senate Republicans’ bid to repeal Cuomo’s emergency powers denied by Democrats  (The Center Square, July 27, 2020)
Q And A: What's Up With Redistricting?  (Spectrum News, July 23, 2020)
State Democrats move to sharply change how legislative districts are drawn  (The Buffalo News, July 23, 2020)
Voting Protections Are Still Needed  (WAMC, July 20, 2020)
This time, Election Day could turn into Election Month  (Newsday, July 18, 2020)
Census delays from coronavirus pandemic could leave less time for remapping of N.Y.'s Congressional districts  (WABC News 10, July 15, 2020)
News Archive
NYPIRG urges Gov to fully fund elections in NY
NYPIRG submits comments to Assembly and Senate on the state's oversight of the quality of care in New York nursing homes and hospitals.
Tale of the Tape: NYPIRG’s 2020 Legislative Review
NYPIRG Announces Gene Russianoff Retires
Reform Groups Have Urged The Governor And The Legislative Leaders To Curtail Governor's Emergency Powers And Reconvene The Session To Do The People's Work
Group statement on NY Legislature increasing police transparency by repealing Civil Rights Law 50-a
NYPIRG Joins Over 50 Organizations in Calling for New York to Reclaim the Stock Transfer Tax
Rock the Absentee: Vote by mail for Primary Election Day 6/23
NYPIRG Statement on NY Attorney General's Lawsuit on the EPA Dirty Water Rule
NYPIRG Urges Governor Cuomo and Lawmakers to Return to Session and Act on Key Issues
Letter: Good Government Groups Call for Postponement of April Primary
Reformers Urge Government to Adopt New Measures to Do The People's Business
Local Elected Officials Call for Increased Water Funding
Policy Paper - Higher Education and Its Eroding Affordability Over the Decade
Civic Organizations Unveil New Website in Push to Get Albany to Support New, Independent Ethics Watchdog
Release: NYPIRG, along with legislators and consumer, public health and environmental organizations call for protections against antibiotic-resistant "Superbugs"
News Release: NYPIRG Urges Greater Access to Early Voting Sites
NYPIRG and Good Government Groups Issue Recommendations to the Public Campaign Financing Commission
Capital Investments: A Look at The 2018 New York State Legislative Elections
NYPIRG and civic groups urge NY Commission on Public Financing to focus on the task at hand; in 3 months establishing a new system of campaign financing.
Reports & Features Archive