If you're not registered to vote, you should do it today. And if you are registered, you should check your registration today.

polling place sign

Today is apparently National Voter Registration Day.

Whatever day -- today, tomorrow, sometime soon -- it's a good day to register to vote if you're not already registered. Or, if you are registered, to check your registration and update it if you've moved or want to change your party affiliation.

Because: You should vote in every election, especially local elections.

The state Board of Elections has an online function for checking your registration and enrollment -- it will also tell you your polling place. (See a longer note about this below.)

If you're not registered to vote? DON'T WAIT! The deadline to register in time to vote for the November election is October 12.

And here are a bunch of ways you can register to vote -- online, via the mail, and in person.

Where you can register to vote

Register online via the DMV
The state Department of Motor Vehicles website provides the option of registering to vote online -- though you'll need a NYS DMV-issued driver license, permit, or non-driver ID. (And if you already have a MyDMV account, you can login there and access your voter registration info.)

Download a registration from from the state Board of Elections
The state Board of Elections website has instructions about registering to vote, and you can download a form from the site. Fill it out, send it in via the postal mail.

Have a registration form sent to you
If you don't have a printer and need a form sent to you, the state Board of Elections will send you a registration form if you fill out an online request. You can also call 1-800-FOR-VOTE to request a form.

Register in person
+ At your county Board of Election: Albany | Rensselaer | Saratoga | Schenectady. (You can also call them and request a registration form.)

+ At a DMV office. You can now make reservations for some DMV offices, which can save you from waiting. (This goes for other DMV-related business, too.)

+ At one of the many offices of many state agencies. It's a long list, and many of the agencies provide social services.

+ At your college campus, if you attend a state school. SUNY schools are one of the many agencies that provide an opportunity to register to vote. For example: at UAlbany there are forms available at the Center for Leadership and Service (Campus Center West B92) and Student Association (Campus Center West B84). (If you attend a private college there may also be opportunities to register to vote on campus. Check with students affairs.)

Check your registration

As we mentioned up top, it's important to periodically check your registration to make sure it's accurate and still shows up (because stuff happens sometimes).

It also important to make sure you're enrolled in the party of your choice (if that's your thing) because of the way New York State election law works. If you want to change your party enrollment and be eligible to vote in a party primary, you must do this the year before. (Yeah.) This year the deadline for changing enrollment for a 2019 primary is October 12, 2018.

Vote in every election

For most of us, voting is one of the few ways to directly influence our governments. So learn a little bit about what's going on, show up, and vote -- each and every time.

This is especially true in local elections where literally just a handful of votes can shift the election for a Common Council member or town board member or a school budget vote. And showing up to vote each and every time -- and getting your neighbors to also vote -- is one way to get elected officials to pay attention.


Equally important....if you (or a family member) are going to be attending College away from home, traveling, recovering from elective surgery, etc, PLEASE apply for an absentee ballot (forms are usually on the County Board of Election websites).

And to emphasize about the mention of "checking your registration"... you registration may have been cancelled if you moved after you registered---even if you moved to a different apartment in the same building. The Board of Elections mails out post cards to confirm registrations....if you don't remember seeing it, perhaps it was returned "undelivered" because you changed your name (marriage? divorce?) didn't update your registration and the substitute mail carrier didn't know that Mary Jones was now Mary Smith!

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