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:

  • 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.
NY State can help overcome voter suppression of college students  (WAMC, January 27, 2022)
The NY Legislature takes up Governor Hochul's Budget  (WAMC, January 24, 2022)
Sheldon Silver, former Assembly speaker, dies at 77  (Newsday, January 24, 2022)
State assemblyman proposes raising bottle deposit to 10 cents  (Niagara Gazette, January 22, 2022)
Breaking down the 2023 state budget proposal  (My Twin Tiers, January 21, 2022)
Mayor Adams Must Do More to Speed Up Buses, Advocates Say  (Streetsblog, January 21, 2022)
Hochul Amassed a Campaign Fortune. Here’s Who it Came From.  (The New York Times, January 20, 2022)
New York good-government advocates want moratorium on cryptomining  (Spectrum News, January 20, 2022)
NY weighs dime deposit  (Allotsego.com, January 20, 2022)
Democrats Likely to Take Control of New York Redistricting, Gain Congressional Seats  (The Wall Street Journal, January 17, 2022)
New York's bottle return law would expand under new bill  (Spectrum News, January 17, 2022)
Cahill introduces legislation to modernize bottle bill  (Niagara Frontier Publications, January 17, 2022)
Legislation introduces revised bottle bill to include ten-cent returns  (ABC News 10, January 15, 2022)
Progressive, watchdog groups urge oversight in economic development  (Spectrum News, January 14, 2022)
Redemption centers, environmental groups urge bottle bill expansion, deposit increase to ten cents  (Fingerlakes1.com, January 14, 2022)
Hochul urged to expand bottle deposit law in New York  (Spectrum News, January 13, 2022)
New York’s higher education system gets renewed attention from Hochul  (Spectrum News, January 11, 2022)
Senate Advances Pro-Voter Election Reforms  (EIM Newswire, January 11, 2022)
Advocates And State Legislators Call On Gov. Hochul To End Fossil Fuels In New Buildings Through Budget  (Harlem World Magazine, January 11, 2022)
An electric idea in Governor Hochul's State of the State  (WAMC, January 10, 2022)
News Archive
NYPIRG Announces New Staff
Reactions to Governor Hochul’s FY 2022 - 2023 Executive Budget
Seventy-five Bottle Redemption Businesses and Distributors Call on Governor Hochul to Expand and Modernize NY's Bottle Deposit Law
Reactions to Governor Hochul's State of the State
NYPIRG Applauds, Criticizes, Gov Hochul’s Approvals and Veto Of Environmental Legislation
New Yorkers Call For an End to Fossil Fuel Subsidies
NYPIRG and over 100 groups call on Gov Hochul to modernize NYS's soon-to-be-40 year old bottle bill.
VICTORY! Danskammer and Astoria Power Plant Permits Denied
Straphangers Campaign Petition to Transform Transit
"Vote Yes on the Back" Factsheet: 2021 New York State Constitutional Amendment Ballot Questions
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
Reports & Features Archive