Frequently Asked Questions
Q. “WHO CAN VOTE?”
A. You must be a registered voter in order to vote in the general or primary elections. To register, you must be a United States citizen, be 18 years old by the date of the election, live at your present address for at least 30 days before an election, and not claim the right to vote elsewhere. You may not register or vote if you have been convicted of a felony and; you are currently incarcerated; or you are under parole supervision .
Q. “WHERE CAN I GET A MAIL-IN REGISTRATION APPLICATION?”
A. If you would like to download a voter registration form, click here. You may pick one up at your local post office, public library or motor vehicle office. You may also call the BOE at (315) 435-8683 and ask to have an application sent to you.
Q. “CAN I REGISTER IN PERSON?”
A. Yes. Many public agencies are now providing voter registration forms and assistance. You can also register at the Board of Elections office at 1000 Erie Blvd West, Syracuse, NY 13204 .
Q. “DO I HAVE TO REGISTER EVERY YEAR?”
A. No. Once you register in a county, you will remain registered at that address. Name, address or party enrollment changes can be made by submitting a new registration application. If you move outside of the county, you need to re-register in your new county.
Q. “HOW WILL I KNOW WHERE TO VOTE?”
A. You should receive a postcard from the Board of Elections some time during the summer, telling you where to vote. Watch for it! It will also indicate your election district number, which you need to know on Election Day. To visit our polling place locator, click here. Or, you can call our office and we will tell you your appropriate polling place.
Q. WHAT IS A PRIMARY ELECTION?”
A. A primary is an election that may take place within each of New York State 's official political parties. It precedes the general election and provides enrolled political party members the opportunity to nominate their party's candidates for elected office as well as to elect various party officials. However, if there is no contest, there is no primary.
Q. “WHY SHOULD I ENROLL IN A POLITICAL PARTY?”
A. Enrolled party members who help nominate candidates by signing petitions and voting in the primary have greater political clout than non-enrolled voters who can only vote in the general election. Moreover, you are not obligated to vote for your party's candidate in the general election. In November, you may vote for any candidate from any party.
Q. “WHAT HAPPENS IF I CAN'T VOTE ON ELECTION DAY?”
A. If you will be out of town on Election Day or are physically unable to go to the polls, you can vote by absentee ballot.
Q. “HOW CAN I GET AN ABSENTEE BALLOT?”
A. Absentee ballot applications can be obtained by writing the Board of Elections, or by calling our office at (315) 435-8683. For more information and online forms, click here.
Q. “WHAT DO I NEED WHEN I GO TO VOTE?”
A. The majority of voters do not need to bring anything. First time voters who applied by mail, and did not provide us with a verified identification, may be asked to show ID. For those voters who do have to provide ID at the polls, a number of forms will be accepted. Either a current and valid photo identification with the voter's name and picture (such as passports, driver's license, or student identification card), a social security number, or else a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document that shows the name and address of the voter will be accepted.
Q. “WHAT IF I'M NOT PERMITTED TO VOTE?”
A. Please call our office at (315) 435-8683 and we can check your eligibility. If you are not on the poll-list, it may be because your registration form was not received or, for a primary, because you aren't enrolled in a party. If you believe that you are eligible, you should call our office at (315) 435-8683.
Q. “CAN SOMEONE HELP ME TO VOTE?”
A. If you need some help because you are disabled or cannot read the ballot, federal law allows you to have a friend or relative assist you in the voting booth. Election employees at the polling place are also ready to help you. Be sure to let them know you'll need assistance before entering the voting booth.
Revised: June 4,2015