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Important Information on Voting in the New York City Area

October 2000

A note from The field of medicine is constantly evolving. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

The 2000 general elections are being held on Tuesday, November 7. In New York State, polls open at 6 am and close at 9 pm.

To register to vote in New York State you must: be a U.S. citizen; be 18 years old by December 31 of the year in which you file this form (note: you must be 18 years old by the date of the election in which you want to vote); live at your present address at least 30 days before an election; not be in jail or on parole for a felony conviction and; not claim the right to vote elsewhere.

For further information, contact:

New York State Board of Elections
Swan Street Bldg., Suite 201
6 Empire Plaza, Suite 201
Albany, New York 12223
(518) 474-6220
TDD 1-800-533-8683 (Hearing Impaired)

Voter Registration

General Election
  • Mail Registration
    Applications must be postmarked not later than October 13 and received by a board of elections not later than October 18 to be eligible to vote in the General Election.

  • In Person Registration
    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 November general election, your application must be received no later than October 13 except, if you have been honorably discharged from the military or have become a naturalized citizen since October 14, you may register in person at the board of elections up until October 27.

Change of Address

Notices of change of address from registered voters received by October 18 by a county board of elections must be processed and entered in the records in time for the general election.

New York Metropolitan County Boards of Election

New York County Board of Elections (Manhattan residents)
200 Varick St.
New York, NY 10014
Phone: 212-886-3800

Bronx County Board of Elections
1780 Grand Concourse
Bronx, NY 10457
Phone: 718-299-9017

Queens County Board of Elections
42-16 West St., Queens Plaza
Long Island City, NY 11101
Phone: 718-392-8989

Kings County Board of Elections (Brooklyn residents)
345 Adams St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone: 718-330-2260

Richmond County Board of Elections (Staten Island residents)
1 Edgewater Plaza
Staten Island, NY 10305
Phone: 718-876-0079

Nassau County Board of Elections
New Administration Bldg.
400 County Seat Dr.
Mineola, NY 11501
Phone: 516-571-2411
Fax: 516-571-2058

Suffolk County Board of Elections
Yaphank Avenue
P. O. Box 700
Yaphank, NY 11980
Phone: 631-852-4500
Fax: 631-852-4590

Westchester County Board of Elections
134 Court Street
White Plains, NY 10601
Phone: 914-285-5700
Fax: 914-285-3190

Rockland County Board of Elections
11 New Hempstead Road
New City, NY 10956
Phone: 845-638-5172
Fax: 845-638-5196

Orange County Board of Elections
25 Court Lane, P.O. Box 30
Goshen, NY 10924
Phone: 845-291-2444
Fax: 845-291-2437

Voting by Absentee Ballot in New York State

You may vote by absentee ballot if you will be:
  • Unavoidably absent from your county on election day, unable to appear at the polls due to illness or disability, a patient in a veteran's administration hospital, detained in jail awaiting grand jury action or confined in prison after conviction for an offense other than a felony.

    Applications for absentee ballots are available at your county board of elections. Upon completion, applications must be mailed to your county board no later than the seventh day before the election or delivered in person no later than the day before the election.

    You may also 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. The letter must contain the following information: the address where you are registered, an address where the ballot is to be sent, the reason for the request, and the signature of the voter. An application form will be mailed with your ballot. The application form must be completed and returned with your ballot.

  • If you cannot pick up your ballot, or will not be able to receive it through the mail, you have the right to designate someone to pick it up for you. only that person designated on your application may pick up and deliver your ballot.

  • If you are permanently ill or disabled, you have the right to receive an absentee ballot for each subsequent election without further application. simply file an application with your board of elections containing a statement which describes the particulars of your illness or disability. the board will review the facts stated and, if satisfied, will mark your registration record. you will then automatically receive an absentee ballot for every election until your registration is canceled.

Deadlines: Voting by Absentee Ballot

For General Elections

Oct. 31 Last day to postmark application or letter of application for ballot.

Nov. 6 Last day to apply in person for ballot.

Nov. 6 Last day to postmark ballot. Must be received by the board of elections no later than Nov. 14.

Nov. 7 Last day to deliver ballot in person to the board of elections.

Frequently Asked Questions about Voting in New York State

(Provided by NYS Board of Elections)

"Who Can Vote?"

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 you want to vote, live at your present address for at least 30 days before an election, not be in jail or on parole for a felony conviction, and not claim the right to vote elsewhere.

"Where Can I Get a Mail Registration Application?"

E-mail your mailing address to or call (212) VOTE-NYC (868-3692) and ask to have a postage-paid application sent to you. You may also pick one up at your local post office, library or motor vehicle office.

"Can I Register in Person?"

Yes. Many public agencies are now providing voter registration forms and assistance. You can also register at Board of Elections offices Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. If you don't get a registration card within 4 to 6 weeks of completing your application, you might want to call (212) VOTE-NYC to see if your application was processed.

"Do I Have to Register Every Year?"

No. Once you register, you are permanently registered. Name, address or party enrollment changes can be made by submitting a new registration application. If you move, you must notify the Board of Elections within 25 days by re-registering.

"How Will I Know Where to Vote?"

You should receive a postcard from the Board of Elections some time in August, telling you where to vote. Watch for it! It will also indicate your election district number which you need to know on election day. Or, you can e-mail your complete home address to and we'll respond with your appropriate polling place.

"How Do Candidates Get on the Ballot?"

In New York State, most candidates get on the ballot by filing a petition containing a specified number of signatures. The required amount varies, depending on the office sought and whether the candidate is seeking a party nomination or a spot on the ballot as an independent.

"Who Can Sign a Petition?"

Only enrolled party members may sign petitions for candidates who seek their party's nomination. However, any registered voter living within the appropriate district may sign a petition for a candidate seeking to run as an independent in the general election as long as he or she has not already signed on behalf of another candidate.

"Should I be Concerned About Signing a Petition?"

Absolutely not! The reluctance of some to sign petitions makes it difficult for those without strong political party backing to get the requisite number of signatures and run for elected office. Signing a petition is an important way to participate in the electoral process.

"What is a Primary Election?"

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.

"Why Should I Enroll in a Political Party?"

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 vote only 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.

"How Do I Enroll in a Political Party?"

You voluntarily enroll in any party by indicating your preference on the voter registration form either at the same time that you register to vote or by re-registering.

"What Happens if I Can't Vote on Election Day?"

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.

"How Can I Get an Absentee Ballot?"

Absentee ballot applications can be obtained by writing the Board of Elections, calling (212) VOTE-NYC, or e-mailing your request to

"I'm Disabled. Where Can I Vote?"

Most polling places are now accessible to the handicapped. If yours is not, you may ask to have your records transferred to a nearby accessible polling place where the ballot will be the same as in your election district. You may also vote by absentee ballot. If you have a long-term or permanent illness or disability, you can apply for a permanent absentee ballot and you will automatically receive one before each primary and general election.

"What Do I Need When I Go to Vote?"

Nothing. Just appear at the polling place indicated on the card you get from the Board of Elections between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. on election day. You need not show any identification or your card from the Board of Elections in order to vote.

"What Do I Do When I Get to the Polling Place?"

When you enter the polling place, you'll see tables and voting machines for one or more election districts (E.D.). At the table for your E.D. you will be asked to sign next to a facsimile of your original signature on an alphabetical computerized poll-list.

"What if I'm Not Permitted to Vote?"

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 can still vote. Ask for an affidavit ballot, which is basically a paper ballot. After the election, the Board of Elections will check its records and your vote will be counted if you are indeed eligible to vote. If not, you will receive a notice that you are not eligible, along with a registration application for future elections.

"How Do Voting Machines Work?"

When you enter the voting booth, pull the large red handle to activate the machine. Do not move it until you have completed your selections. You have three minutes in which to vote. Make your selections by moving the lever next to the name of each candidate you wish to vote for until an 'X' appears. You can change your mind and move the levers up and down as often as necessary. However, once your choices are made, leave them down and pull the large red handle to register and count your vote.

"Suppose I Need Help?"

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.

"If I Register to Vote, Will I Be Called for Jury Duty?"

Jurors are drawn from lists of state taxpayers and licensed drivers as well as from voter registration rolls. Do not give up your right to vote in the hope that you will avoid jury duty. Chances are, if you pay taxes or drive a car, you will still be called. Besides, serving on a jury is a privilege, one that permits you to personally stand up for all Americans' right to a trial by a jury of their peers.

Felony Conviction: How it Affects Your Right to Vote

You cannot register for or vote in an election if:
  1. You have been convicted of a felony in New York State and are currently incarcerated serving your sentence.

  2. You have been convicted of a felony in New York State and are currently serving parole.

  3. You have been convicted in a Federal Court or in ANOTHER STATE of a crime or offense that would constitute a felony under the laws of New York State, unless you meet any one of the five conditions below.

You can register for or vote in an election if:

  1. You have been convicted of a felony but have been pardoned.

  2. Your maximum sentence of imprisonment has expired.

  3. You have been discharged from parole.

  4. You have been convicted but have not been sentenced to imprisonment or if the sentence of imprisonment has been suspended.

  5. You finished your maximum sentence and are currently serving probation.


In order to be eligible to register one must be a citizen of the united states. A permanent resident, a green card holder or a person who is in this country on a visa is not eligible to register to vote until he or she obtains citizenship.

Requirements for Citizenship

Age An applicant for citizenship must be 18 years of age and a lawful, permanent resident of the United States.

Length of Citizenship

  1. A prospective citizen must have resided in the United States for five years except, that if married and living with a U.S. citizen, the required period of residence in the country is only 3 years. (Note: A husband or wife does NOT become a citizen by virtue of his or her spouse's papers. Each has to obtain his or her own papers. The only courtesy extended the spouse of a U.S. citizen is that he or she has to be a resident of the U.S. for only 3 years as compared to the customary 5.)

  2. An applicant who has served for three years in the U.S. MILITARY and who is a lawful permanent resident, is excused from any specific period of required residence if an application for naturalization is filed while the applicant is still serving with the armed forces or within six months of an honorable discharge.


  1. Children born abroad of U.S. citizen parents ARE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES at birth. The Certificate of Citizenship is merely PROOF of citizenship.

  2. ADOPTED children of citizen parents are NOT automatically citizens of the United States. They ACQUIRE citizenship by virtue of specific papers their adoptive parents file for that purpose

  3. ADOPTED CHILDREN OVER 18 MUST FILE AN Application for Certificate of Citizenship. Being adopted by American citizens in itself does NOT bestow citizenship.

  4. Children who emigrate to this country with their parents do not become citizens when their parents become naturalized citizens. They must obtain their own papers.

Voter Registration Form

  1. In order to be processed, line #2 of the voter registration form must be checked -- "Are you a U.S. citizen? ___Yes ___No"

  2. If this box is not completed the registration form will be returned to the registrant requesting that the material be furnished and the form be completed.

  3. If a voter's citizenship has been challenged the Board has a right to investigate and verify the authenticity of the claim.

-- NYC Board of Elections 1/99

Voting in New Jersey

Who Can Register

To register in New Jersey you must be: a US citizen, at least 18 years old on or before the next election, residing at your present address for at least 30 days. You are not eligible to register or vote if you are on parole or probation, or if you are serving a prison sentence for violating State or Federal law.

Where to Register

Applications for registration can be obtained from the Division of Elections, the Commissioners of Registration office in the County where you live or from your Municipal Clerk. Registration forms are also available in various State agencies and at Division of Motor Vehicle offices and can be obtained while transacting agency business.

Bergen County
21 Main Street, Room 106E
Hackensack, NJ 07601
Phone: 201-646-3176
Fax: 201-646-3116

Hudson County
595 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07306
Phone: 201-795-6555
Fax: 201-795-6561

Passaic County
311 Pennsylvania Avenue, Rm. 103
Paterson, NJ 07503
Phone: 973-881-4516
Fax: 973-881-1634

Middlesex Count
777 Jersey Avenue
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-3605
Phone: 732-745-3471
Fax: 732-214-1656

Union County
271 North Broad Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07207
Phone: 908-527-4122
Fax: 908-527-4127

Essex County
33 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102
Phone: 973-621-5061
Fax: 201-621-6464


For more information about voter registration, voting, civic participation and educational programs write to:

The Secretary of the State's Office
PO Box 150470
Hartford, CT 06115-0470

Back to the October 2000 Issue of Body Positive Magazine.

A note from The field of medicine is constantly evolving. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

  • Email Email
  • Printable Single-Page Print-Friendly
  • Glossary Glossary

This article was provided by Body Positive. It is a part of the publication Body Positive.
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