It is not an exaggeration to say that the upcoming New York City primary elections are going to reshape the future for years to come. It will be the first time voters citywide use the new ranked-choice voting system. There are open seats for mayor, comptroller, public advocate, city council, and more. Since it is a primary, you must be a registered voter in a political party with candidates vying for its nomination. The Democratic primaries are sucking up most of the oxygen since Democrats outnumber Republicans by a factor of 7-to-1 in the city and the winners of these contests head into the November general election as the odds on favorites.
The deadline to register to vote in the upcoming primary is Friday, May 28th. Here is what you need to know.
Who is eligible to register?
You need to be a United States citizen who will be 18 or older on the day of the election and a resident of New York City for at least 30 days before the election. (You actually can pre-register as a 16 or 17 year old, but you still can’t vote until you’re 18.) You cannot register if you are currently incarcerated for a felony conviction. However, you can register and vote if you are incarcerated awaiting trial without a conviction.
Can I register to vote online?
The only way to do it online is through the Department of Motor Vehicles. You need a license or non-driver ID and social security number. Those forms get sent to the Board of Elections local office for processing. The state passed legislation to set up a full online registration system in 2019 that was supposed to come on line this year. But due to a series of delays (e.g. belt-tightening, a global pandemic), the system is not yet available.
What if I don’t have a DMV account?
Download a paper form from the New York City Board of Elections, fill it out in blue or black ink and mail it in. You can also find the form in different languages on the New York City Campaign Finance Board, but you need to fill out the form in English.
Either way, it needs to be postmarked or hand delivered to a Board of Elections office on Friday, May 28th. If you do decide to mail it, it needs to be received by the BOE office by June 2nd, which is Wednesday.
What if I was recently released from prison — do I need to register to vote again?
Yes, but earlier this month Governor Cuomo signed legislation that automatically restores a person’s voting rights when they are released; previously he has been using his pardon powers which could lead to delays. You still need to submit a new voter registration form and select a party to vote in the upcoming election.
Is there a way to check if I’m registered already?
What if I’m registered but I want to change my party affiliation?
Unfortunately, that deadline was back in February.
KEY DATES 📅
- Last day to request absentee ballot: June 15th
- Early voting: June 12th – 20th
- Last day to postmark or deliver primary ballot in person: June 22nd
- Primary Day: June 22nd