New York City

Voter registration deadline is Friday: How to do it in NYC

Brooklynites should double-check after purging fiasco

October 12, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Voting booths in Borough Park. AP photo by Mark Lennihan

The upcoming presidential election has been called one of the most important in decades, and Friday, Oct. 14 is the last day to register to vote.

This deadline is of particular importance to registered voters in Brooklyn, 126,000 of whom were wrongly purged from the voting rolls before the presidential primary, prompting outrage and an audit by Comptroller Scott Stringer. Most have since been returned, but some remain unregistered, perhaps unknowingly.

Your registration may also have been moved to inactive if you did not vote in the last two federal elections, or if you moved and didn’t update your address with the BOE.

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Fortunately, an easy way to check your voter registration status can be found at http://voting.nyc, a website run by the New York City Campaign Finance Board. You can find out if you’re registered by simply filling in your name, date of birth, county and zip code.

If you find that you are not registered, you can either download the form and mail it in (or call 866-VOTE-NYC to request one by mail), register at your local BOE office, or register online through the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website. You need a valid NYS driver license, permit or non-driver ID and the last four digits of your social security number to register online.

New York City is trying to be more inclusive this election, with registration forms available in 11 new languages for a total of 16 languages.

If you’ve done your time, you can re-register

 To register to vote in New York City, you must be a U.S. citizen, be a New York City resident for at least 30 days, and be 18 years of age by the end of the year (you must be 18 on Election Day to vote).

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You can’t vote, however, while you are incarcerated or on parole for a felony conviction, or if you’ve been judged to be mentally incompetent.

In New York City, however, even if you were convicted of a felony, you may re-register and vote if you finished serving your time. You can also vote: if you were sentenced to probation, if you didn’t get jail time, if you were pardoned or if your prison sentence was suspended. If you were on parole and then discharged, you are also able to re-register.

You can register and vote, even from jail, if you have been convicted of only a misdemeanor.

This is not necessarily true in other states. Restoration of voting rights for people who are ex-offenders varies across the country. In some states, ex-felons must petition the governor or a clemency board to have their voting rights restored. Some states have imposed a five- or seven-year waiting period before restoring voting rights.

The homeless may also register to vote in New York City. Homeless voters need to fill out a voter registration form and write a location where they can be found, such as “Bench on Central Park on 86th Street,” according to the Campaign Finance Board.


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