If you enroll in a party you are free to vote for any candidate at the General Election in November. Every voter should review all the candidates for each office and select the individuals that you feel would do the best job in that office.
Often, people are concerned about the secrecy of their vote. If you vote on a machine, your vote is protected through a system of administrative safeguards. You begin by filling out your ballot at a table with privacy dividers. Then, you proceed to the voting machine with your ballot inside a privacy sleeve. The machines are sealed from the opening of the polls until the closing of the polls. There is no way for the inspectors or anyone else to check the ballots or see what candidates you selected or how you voted on propositions. The optical ballot scanner in no way reveals for whom you voted.
No, the form is not hard to complete. You are only required to answer basic questions regarding your name, age, residence address, and any previous voting history. All new registrants must provide identification when they register. Identification means a verifiable New York State Driver's license number. ONLY IF you do not have a NYS Driver's license then you can provide the last four digits of your Social Security number, as requested on the registration form. You are also permitted to enroll in a political party if you would like to participate in party events such as primary elections, caucuses, etc.
If you think that you will be out of the county on Election Day, you can request an absentee application so you can vote by a paper ballot. You will need to complete the application informing us of your name, residence address, when you will be out of the county and how you want us to get a ballot to you. You may also come into our office and vote in person before you leave the county or have it mailed to you. If you find that you are in the county on Election Day, you are required to go to the polls and vote in person even if you have already voted by an absentee ballot. In such cases, the absentee ballot will not be counted if you vote on the voting machine.
Any voter who has a physical disability or an illness, which does not allow him to go to the polling site, may also vote by an absentee ballot. These voters may request that they be put on a permanent list so that they will receive a ballot for each election they are eligible to vote in. You will only have to file an application once.
Voters may change their party affiliation by using a regular voter registration form. You can obtain a form at your local post office, any state agency or by contacting you local Board of Electionís office. Voters request a party change by completing the form and noting the party with which you now want to be affiliated. Any change of enrollment must be filed with the local board of elections not later than 25 days before the general election in November. Any changes will not become effective until seven (7) days after the general election in the year you apply.
Enrolled members of a political party help to select the candidates for that party who will be on the general election ballot in November. Parties generally circulate petitions to allow people to become candidates in primary elections. A primary election is an election which the voters of a certain party select their candidates. If you are not enrolled in the party, you may not vote in the primary election.