Voting 101

Our FAQs below will help you understand voting terms, the parties, the process, and more! 

How do I register to vote?

If you are over 18, or will be 18 on Election Day, then you can register to vote. Click HERE to register in New York State. You must update, mail, or deliver this form at least 25 days before the election you want to vote in, otherwise, you can't vote in that election. 

Do I have to update my voter registration when I move, change my name, or change political party affiliation? 

Yes, please! Click HERE to re-register with your new information and you'll be all set.  

Do I have to be in a particular party?

No, but we hope that you'll choose to become a Democrat! If you choose a party affiliation, that means you can vote in a primary for that party. Please see the next FAQ to learn about primaries.

What is a primary?

New York State political parties offer closed primaries. In a closed primary, you can vote only in the primary your affiliated party. For example, a voter registered as a Democrat can only vote in a Democrat primary. Absentee voters in States that conduct closed primaries are often required to choose a party affiliation on their voter registration form in order to participate in the State’s primary elections.

What is a midterm election?

Midterm elections give the you the opportunity to vote for members of Congress as well as state and local representatives, like governor or local councilmembers; these elections occur midway through a president’s term. They are also called an off-year election.

What is a general election?

That's the day that you vote for national officeholders like president and vice president, as well as state and local offices. 

When is election day?

Election Day is the annual day set by law for the general elections of federal, state, and local public officials. It is ALWAYS "the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November" equaling the Tuesday occurring within November 2 to November 8.

What does the term "down ballot" mean?

Down-ballot and down-ticket are two words that describe running or voting for offices listed below the "most important" —typically national— race on a ballot. For instance, in a presidential election, Senate and House seats and contests for state and local offices are down-ballot (or down-ticket) because their outcomes are often influenced by the turnout for the presidential race at the top of the ballot. 

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