Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.
New York City voters will head to the polls to make their choices for City Council, district attorneys for Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island, district leaders and more — though a number of those races will feature candidates who are running unopposed.
Here's everything you need to know before heading to the polls or submitting an absentee ballot.
When does early voting begin?
Early voting begins Saturday, Oct. 28 and runs every day through Sunday, Nov 5. Anyone eligible to vote can vote early. For voting times and locations, visit the New York City Board of Elections website at https://vote.nyc/page/understanding-ballot.
How do I find my polling place?
If you’re a New York City voter, you can enter your address at https://vote.nyc/page/understanding-ballot to find your early voting and Election Day polling place. In most cases, early voting and Election Day polling places are separate locations.
The New York City Board of Elections recommends double checking your polling place.
Am I eligible to vote in the Nov. 7 general election?
If you register to vote by Oct. 28, you are eligible to vote in the general election.
What’s on my ballot?
The races for this general election include 51 nominations for City Council. For the first time in 20 years, every City Council seat is up for grabs.
Other races for this election include district attorneys for Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island, district leaders, civil court judges, delegates to the judicial convention, and state and county committee members.
However, candidates in a number of those elections will not face challengers. Fourteen City Council races, two district attorney races and 18 of the 22 judicial campaigns across the city will feature candidates who are running unopposed.
You can see a sample ballot by entering your address at https://findmypollsite.vote.nyc/.
What do I need to vote?
If you are registered to vote and provided ID when you registered, you do not need ID or any other documentation when you go to vote, according to New York state law. If you did not provide ID when you first registered, you can still vote at a polling location with an affidavit ballot.
Can I register to vote online?
Yes! New York City residents who do not have a driver’s license, permit or non-driver ID can now register to vote online through the Board of Elections website. You can register to vote online at https://e-register.vote.nyc/. The online application allows residents to register to vote for the first time, change the name or address on their voter registration, become a member of a political party and/or change party membership.
If you have a valid New York state driver’s license, permit or non-driver ID, you will be directed to use the New York state DMV’s Electronic Voter Registration Application to either register to vote or update your voter registration.
Non-New York City residents will be directed to the state Board of Elections’ website.
To register, you must be 18 years old by the end of this year, not be in prison for a felony conviction, not claim the right to vote anywhere else and not be found to be “incompetent” by the court.
Can I take time off work to vote?
New York state law mandates that voters with certain schedules that conflict with polling location hours get two hours of paid time off if they do not have “sufficient time to vote.”
“Sufficient time to vote” is defined by the state Board of Elections as four hours before or after your work shift.
The example the state provides is that a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. employee whose polling location is open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. would not be eligible for mandatory paid time off because they would have four hours after their shift to vote. However, if the shift in that scenario went from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., employers would be required to provide paid time off because the employee would only have three hours before and after their shift.
Employees are required to give their employers two working days’ notice if they need to take paid time off to vote. Employers cannot require employees to use any of their personal time or other earned leave time to vote.
If employers refuse or fail to provide an employee with paid time off in circumstances where it was required, the state recommends speaking with a private attorney or contacting the following agencies:
For Wage Payment Purposes:
New York State Department of Labor, Division of Labor Standards
Bldg. 12, Rm. 185C,
State Office Campus, Albany NY 12240
Tel. 888-4-NYSDOL (469-7365)
New York State Attorney General’s Office Labor Bureau
28 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10005
Tel. (212) 416-8700
For Election Law Compliance Purposes:
Contact your County Board of Elections
NYS Board of Elections
40 North Peal St, Suite 5
Albany, NY 12207-2729
Tel. (518) 474-6220
How do I apply for an absentee ballot?
You can apply in-person at your local county board of elections or by designating another person to deliver your application in-person.
Applications need to be submitted by mail, email or fax by Oct. 23 to your county board of elections. In-person applications can be submitted up to the day before Election Day, Monday, Nov. 6.
Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 7, is the last day for an absentee ballot to be mailed or submitted in-person by your designated representative. If mailed, it must be postmarked by Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Who qualifies for an absentee ballot?
According to the state Board of Elections, the following groups of registered voters qualify:
- Absent from your county or, if a resident of New York City, absent from the five boroughs, on Election Day.
- Unable to appear at the polls due to temporary or permanent illness or disability (temporary illness does not include being unable to appear due to risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease like COVID-19).
- Unable to appear because you are the primary caregiver of one or more individuals who are ill or physically disabled.
- A resident or patient of a Veterans Administration hospital.
- Detained in jail awaiting grand jury action or confined in prison after conviction for an offense other than a felony.
I’m a military service member, merchant marine, a military or merchant marine family member living away from their voting district, or a citizen living outside the United States and I need an absentee ballot, but I’m not registered to vote.
Oct. 28 is the last day for unregistered voters who qualify for an absentee ballot to submit an application.
How do I vote with an absentee ballot?
Fill out your absentee ballot like you would any ballot, following the instructions included. Make sure you sign and date the security envelope before returning your ballot.
Absentee ballots can be mailed back or dropped off at a poll site or local Board of Elections office by or on Election Day. If mailing, the ballot must be postmarked by Nov. 7 and received by Nov. 14 (military voter ballots have an extended deadline of Nov. 20). The Board of Elections recommends using two stamps to ensure it has enough postage.
What if I requested an absentee ballot and decided to vote at the polls?
You can, but you will be given an affidavit ballot instead of being able to use a polling machine so the Board of Elections can first determine if you are an eligible voter. A law change adopted the rule for New York state in 2021 after chaotic ballot counting in a 2020 upstate congressional race delayed the race being called for months.
What happens if I’m turned away on Election Day?
There are a number of reasons you could arrive at your polling place and be told you can’t vote.
First, double-check you’re at the right polling place by visiting https://vote.nyc/page/understanding-ballot. If you are and are still being turned away, it is possible you may not have registered in time or, if you recently moved, you haven’t changed your registration to your current address.
Ask poll workers to check if you are registered to vote in another borough. If your poll workers are not being helpful, contact or visit your local elections office, which can be found here.
It is also possible you have been marked an inactive voter, in error by the Board of Elections or because you have not voted in two consecutive federal elections over the course of five years.
If you are still being told you are not on the voter rolls, you can request an affidavit ballot from a poll worker. Filling out this ballot will allow you to attest you are eligible to vote and participate in the election. The city’s Board of Elections will then verify whether you are eligible or not. If you are, your vote will be counted. If not, they will contact you with a notice you are not eligible and paperwork for you to register for future elections.
Who can I call if poll workers or others are obstructing me from voting?
If you face issues at the polls that cannot be solved by calmly and clearly communicating with poll workers on the ground, you have a number of options.
Government agencies that can help you exercise your right to vote:
- New York Election Hotline: 1-800-771-7755
- The U.S. Department of Justice Voting Rights Hotline: 1-800-253-3931
A coalition of civil rights groups have also put together a series of multilingual hotlines that can help with each step of the voting process:
- English: 866-OUR-VOTE – Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
- Spanish/English: 888-VE-Y-VOTA – NALEO Educational Fund
- Arabic/English: 844-YALLA-US – Arab American Institute (AAI)
- Asian Languages/English: 888-API-VOTE – APIAVote & Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC)
- The New York Civil Liberties Union also has a voting hotline that can be reached at (212) 607-3300.
Does my vote matter?
Yes! Voter turnout in New York is notoriously low, adding extra weight to the votes of New Yorkers who do show up to the polls.
When you fill out your ballot, you will face choices in races for your City Council representative, district leaders, civil court judges, delegates to the judicial convention, and state and county committee members. If you live in Queens or the Bronx, you will also vote in primaries for your borough’s district attorneys.
Fourteen City Council races, two district attorney races and 18 of the 22 judicial campaigns across the city will feature candidates who are running unopposed.
If you’re a first-time voter or unsure about how the process works, voting in person may be easier because poll workers will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.
Can I check poll wait times online?
No, currently the city and the state do not offer the ability to check poll wait times online.
Can I bring my dog to a polling station?
Dogs are not eligible to vote and their owners are generally discouraged from bringing them — or any animal — to the polls, unless they help with accessibility.