The right to vote is one of the oldest and most fundamental of the rights conferred to us under our state and federal constitutions. However, voting laws differ from state to state and there is widespread confusion about how, when and where to vote. Here are some helpful tips and information you should know when going out to the polls.
Find your polling place in New York by visiting this website: www.iwillvote.com
- You are entitled to take up to two hours of paid time off in order to vote if your work schedule otherwise prevents you from voting in person while the polls are open. You must must tell your employers that you need time off to vote at least two but no more than ten days before the election. N.Y. Election Law § 3-110.
You DO NOT need an ID to vote in New York, and a poll worker cannot require you to produce one! (Unless you are a first-time voter who registered by mail without producing identification).
- If you speak a different language, you have the right to have a poll worker assist you in translating the ballot. Certain counties in New York must have translators for certain languages on hand.
If you are disabled, you have the right to have poll workers assist you either with reading the ballot, filling it out, or getting to the ballot box. You also have the right to have any person of your choosing assist you at your polling place.
- If you are a convicted felon in New York, you are eligible to register to vote and cast a ballot once you have been discharged from probation, you maximum sentence has expired, or if you have been pardoned and had your rights restored. Don't let anyone tell you that you cannot vote because of your criminal history. This holds true for both state and federal convictions.
If you are on line at your polling place at the time your polling place officially closes, THEY MUST REMAIN OPEN until you have cast your vote.
- If there is a discrepancy concerning your registration or right to vote, you have the right to cast a provisional ballot pending verification of your eligibility to vote. You cannot be turned away! N.Y. Election Law § 8-302(3)(e).
You may bring written or printed materials into voting booths, but you may not display campaign clothing, stickers or buttons at the polling place. N.Y. Election Law § 17-130(4)
- You may be challenged at the polls by a duly qualified person who suspects that you may be ineligible to vote. if this happens, YOU CAN STILL VOTE if you can successfully take the oaths required of you and answer certain questions about your eligibility.
If you suspect your right to vote is being violated, you can make a report here: http://www.866ourvote.org or call (866)-OUR-VOTE. More information can be found at the New York chapter of the ACLU's website: http://www.nyclu.org/content/register-vote#vote