On July 20, the Board of Elections sent out “Notice of Intent to Cancel” notices to thousands of New York City residents that their NYC registration was about to be canceled because there is a possibility that the an individual with the same name and/or date of birth is registered in another county. The voter asked to respond back to their respective Borough Board of Election Office within 14 days confirming that the accuracy of the information.
Confusion among some of the recipients followed, so, to clear things up, we chatted with Ashton Stewart, executive director of the League of Women Voters NYC, and here’s what you need to know to make sure you can enter the voting booth snag-free this election cycle:
1. In New York State, voter registration is permanent. When residents don't vote for several years, the BOE may put them on "inactive status," and remove thir names from the voter lists given to the poll workers. But even if that happens, you can still vote by affidavit ballot at the polls and the Board of Elections will let you know if your vote will be counted, or why it could not be counted (if you missed a change of address deadline, for example).
2. If you received a “Notice of Intent to Cancel," fill it out and send it back within 14 days of receipt and you’ll be fine for the next election, which are the state Senate and Assembly primaries on Thursday, September 13.* If you didn’t receive a notice, you’ve got nothing to worry about. If you’re not sure, there's a site to double check your voter registration status.
3. If you’ve been sent the “Notice of Intent to Cancel," letter but don't have it or missed the deadline, fill out a new voter registraion form available online or at an NYC Board of Elections office by August 19 for the Sept. 13 primary. If you have any questions you can contact the Board of Elections at 866-VOTE NYC. The League of Women Voters NYC can also help.
4. If you have moved, fill out a voter registration form available online and indicate that you are filling it out to change your address. You can also get one in person at an NYC Board of Elections office. (State law says you have to file the change within 25 days of moving, but even if you haven't done so, go to the new polling site, vote by affidavit ballot and there's a very good chance the BOE will count your vote for the current election. Either way, they will update your new address for the next one).
5. Vote in the state primary elections on Sept. 13 and the federal and state general elections on Nov. 6. Not sure whom to vote for? The League of Women Voters of New York City will issue a non-partisan voter guide on their website and through the mail in early September. You can follow them on twitter and facebook for updates. In addition, bookmark our, which will be updated closer to the elections. You can also follow the Board of Elections on facebook andtwitter.
*The New York Legislature moved this year's primary election to Thursday in order to avoid having it fall on Sept. 11.
Note: This article was updated on August 3 at 4:56 p.m. with new information provided by the New York City Board of Elections.