To Vote Or Not —There Really Isn’t Any Question (Part 2) By Tom Reynolds, SCOPE President
Some of the reasons why folks don’t turn out to vote in November and what the rest of us can do about it.
Voting requires some planning ahead, if you have not registered.
IN PERSON REGISTRATION (N.Y. Election Law Sections 5-210, 5-211, 5-212) You may register at your local board of elections or any state agency participating in the National Voter Registration Act, on any business day throughout the year but, to be eligible to vote in the General Election, your application must be received no later than October 9, 2020.
MAIL IN REGISTRATION (N.Y. Election Law Section 5-210(3))
Applications must be postmarked no later than October 9, 2020 and received by a board of elections no later than October 14, 2020 to be eligible to vote in the General Election.
If you’ve changed your address, you need to re-register to vote.
CHANGE OF ADDRESS (N.Y. Election Law Section 5-208(3))
Notices of change of address from registered voters (must be) received by a county board of elections by October 14,
Tired of voting for the lesser of two evils?
Vote in next year’s party primary, when your vote selects the candidates and where your vote is more meaningful because fewer people vote. To vote in next year’s primary, you must be registered in that party before this November’s election.
With governmental offices being closed much more than usual, you can go to https://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingRegister.html to download the registration form. For those who have access to a printer, it would be a kindness to your unregistered friends and neighbors who might not have internet access if you printed a few of the forms and had them handy for them to fill out.
As of this writing (late July), county boards of elections were awaiting state guidance regarding covid-19 and absentee voting for the November 3rd general election. At this time, voters are not able to use covid-19 as a reason for requesting an absentee ballot. However, legitimate illness, disability, absence and so forth are valid reasons to request an absentee ballot. Again, people with internet access and a printer can help out people who don’t have those things.
- Applications for Absentee Ballots are available at your county board of elections. You may also download a PDF version of the New York State Absentee Ballot Application Form
- Download English Form ( pdf 485KB)
- Applications must be mailed to your county board no later than October 27th or delivered in person no later than the day before the election.
- You may request an Absentee Ballot by sending a letter to your county board of elections. The letter must be received by your county board no earlier than 30 days and no later than seven days before the election.
Ignorance is no excuse.
Close to Election Day, county boards of elections generally publish sample ballots online that represent exactly the ballots that voters will be handed at their polling places. This is yet another way that people with internet access can help those without. There is no reason, anymore, why people shouldn’t already know whose name will appear on various lines before they enter their polling place. While voting might have seemed to be mysterious in the past and used as an excuse for not voting (or voting ignorantly), that is no longer the case.
November 3rd — please vote, and encourage your friends, neighbors, and family members to vote. Pick them up and buy them a coffee or a soda if that helps grease the wheels a little. We can change things but we have to use the weapon at our disposal and not leave it holstered — voting.