New York State’s Elections: Make Your Voice Heard

Voting Booths
All eyes are on the upcoming elections, which will impact the state, the services we receive, and the amount we pay to get them. 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 elections:

Important Dates:

  • Voter Registration deadlines: For the Primary, May 28th; for the General Election, October 8th
  • Absentee Ballot application deadlines: For the Primary, June 15th; for the General Election, October 26th
  • Early Voting period: For the Primary from June 12th through June 20th; for the General Election, October 23rd through October 31st
  • General Election Day: November 2, 2021

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 Primary Day or Election Day:

  • You can go to the polls on Primary Day (Tuesday, June 22) and 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 June 22, 2021 for Primary Day and November 23, 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:

  • 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.
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Albany Is Once Again In Turmoil  (WAMC, March 1, 2021)
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Did New York let doctors get away with sexual misconduct?  (City & State, February 21, 2021)
NY Needs To Overhaul Its Elections  (WAMC, February 14, 2021)
Local environmental advocates call for investigation into DEC’s knowledge of AFFF burning at Norlite  (ABC News 10, February 11, 2021)
PFOA found in Rockland County public water supply  (Mid-Hudson News, February 9, 2021)
Cuomo's Higher Education Budget Gets Scrutiny  (WAMC, February 8, 2021)
NYPIRG: “Bring in the Commissioners and Put Them Under Oath”  (Spectrum News, February 8, 2021)
Pandemic makes politicking in New York’s Capitol a take-out affair  (New York Post, February 8, 2021)
New York City Pols Try to Make Gathering Signatures to Get on Ballot Safer  (NY City Lens, February 8, 2021)
Attorney General Issues Report On Nursing Home COVID Care  (WAMC, February 1, 2021)
A workshop for lobbying during COVID  (Community News Weekly, January 29, 2021)
Governor Cuomo's Budget  (WAMC, January 25, 2021)
Blair Horner discusses the 2021 state budget   (WGXC Radio, January 25, 2021)
Blair Horner discusses the state budget  (The Santuary for Independent Media, January 23, 2021)
Empire State Weekly NYPIRG Executive Director Blair Horner Budget Executive Budget Interview  (WIVB, January 22, 2021)
MTA Plans to Delay 2021 Fare Hikes  (Spectrum News, January 18, 2021)
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NYPIRG Reacts To Governor Cuomo's Budget Proposal
NYPIRG Reacts to Governor's 4th 2021 State of the State Address on NYS Infrastructure Needs
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