How to register to vote in New York

(FOX 5 NY illustration from New York State documents)

UPDATE: The deadline to register to vote in New York for the 2020 general election has passed for most types of residents. 

The coronavirus pandemic has upended how many municipalities and states are conducting elections this year. New York will have in-person early voting, in-person voting on Election Day (Nov. 3, 2020), and absentee voting for anyone who requests it. All New York residents who meet eligibility requirements can register to vote either by mail or in-person. 

New York has limited online voter registration. In order to register online, you must have an ID card issued by the state's Department of Motor Vehicles, such as a driver's license or a non-driver identification card.

If you mail your application, it must be postmarked no later than Friday, Oct. 9, and received by your board of elections no later than Wednesday, Oct. 14 to be eligible to vote in the General Election. The last day to register online with the DMV or in-person is Friday, Oct. 9.

NOTE: If you are honorably discharged from the U.S. military or become a naturalized U.S. citizen after Oct. 9, 2020, you may register in-person at your board of elections up until Saturday, Oct. 24.

You can see more important dates and an overview of voting by mail here: How to vote by mail using an absentee ballot in New York.

To register, you need to meet the eligibility requirements and prove your identity. Here are the requirements and procedures.

YOU MUST BE

  • A United States citizen.
  • 18 years old by the date of the election (you can pre-register at 16 or 17 but can't vote until you are 18)
  • A resident of New York State and the county, city, or village in which you seek to register for at least 30 days before the election.
  • A person not in prison or on parole for a felony conviction (unless parolee pardoned or restored rights of citizenship).

Note: You aren't eligible to vote in New York if a court has adjudged you mentally incompetent or if you claim the right to vote elsewhere.

YOU MUST PROVIDE

  • Your New York State DMV number; the DMV will validate your identification for elections officials.

OR

  • The last four digits of your Social Security number. 

OR 

  • A valid photo ID that shows your name and current address.

OR 

  • A current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or some other government document that shows your name and address.

"If we are unable to verify your identity before Election Day, you will be asked for ID when you vote for the first time," the voter registration form states.

Get information about voting by mail in NEW YORK | NEW JERSEY | CONNECTICUT

REGISTER BY MAIL

Either call 800-FOR-VOTE to request a voter application or download the form and then fill it out. (Here are direct links to the English form, Spanish form, Accessible English form, and Accessible Spanish form.) After you fill out the form and attach any necessary supporting documents, you must mail the materials to your county's board of elections. Time is running out to register by mail, though, so registering in-person or online (if you are eligible; see below) is safer.

REGISTER IN-PERSON

You can register in person at your county board of elections, at a New York State agency-based voter registration center, or at a Department of Motor Vehicles office. NOTE: Check ahead of time to be aware of any pandemic-related closures or reduced hours. 

REGISTER ONLINE

As mentioned above, online registration is open only to state residents who have a New York DMV-issued driver's license, learner's permit, or non-driver ID card. 

"If you do not have your most recent New York State DMV issued identification... or were never issued a New York State DMV identification document, you cannot register online through DMV," the agency states on its voter registration portal. To register online you will need:

  • Your most recent DMV-issued document driver license, permit or Non-Driver ID; locate the ID number and the document number (see sample documents here).
  • Your ZIP Code currently on record with the DMV.
  • The last four digits of your Social Security number (SSN).

REGISTRATION STATUS

You can check your voter registration status, party enrollment, and voter district information online at either vote.nyc (for New York City residents) or voterlookup.elections.ny.gov (for all state residents).

Don't forget to peruse this information about how to receive and submit your ballot and important dates pertaining to the election.

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CORRECTION: The deadlines for registering to vote have been clarified and corrected. 

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