Why is there a second primary in August? 

There are two primaries this year after a lawsuit scrambled the state’s redistricting process and pushed back the primary for congressional and state Senate seats until Aug. 23. Assembly, U.S. Senate, and statewide primary elections were held on June 28.

When does early voting begin?

Early voting began Saturday, Aug. 13 and runs every day through Sunday, Aug 21. Anyone eligible to vote can early vote. For voting times and locations visit the New York City’s 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 Election recommends double checking your polling place because it may have changed since the June primary. 

Am I eligible to vote in the Aug. 23 primary?

If you registered to vote by July 29, you are eligible to vote in the Aug 23. primary.

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 take time off work to vote?

New York State law mandates 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 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


What’s on my ballot?

Every voter registered with the Democratic or Republican parties will be eligible to vote in their party’s Aug. 23 primary for Congress and state Senate. 

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.

For the August primary, the deadline for applying for an absentee ballot application in-person is Aug. 22. Applications by mail, email, or fax must be recieved by your county board of elections by Aug. 8. You can also apply online here.

Here are the English and Spanish New York State absentee ballot applications.

Election day, Aug. 23, 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 Aug. 23 and recieved by Aug. 30. 

Who qualifies for an absentee ballot?

Notably, risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 is still considered a qualifying reason to request an absentee ballot, effectively allowing all New Yorkers to request one.

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 includes 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 Health Administration Hospital.
  • Detained in jail awaiting Grand Jury action or confined in prison after conviction for an offense other than a felony.

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 Aug. 23 and received by Aug. 30. The Board of Elections recommends using two stamps to ensure it has enough postage.

What if I requested an absentee ballot and decide 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 this year adopted the rule for New York State 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 on Election Day 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 primary. 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.

Can I change my party affiliation for the August primary?

Yes, but you must do so by Aug. 11. The court order that split up the primaries initially allowed for a loophole that would have allowed voters to change their voter registration up to and on Aug. 23, but the judge in that case issued a decision earlier this month that pushed back the deadline to Aug. 11.

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:

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. While some primaries feature only one candidate running unopposed, there are competitive congressional races in the Democratic primaries in districts that span Lower Manhattan and brownstone Brooklyn, the Upper East and Upper West Sides and Midtown, and Staten Island and South Brooklyn. Some state Senate races are also competitive, including in Upper Manhattan and in the Northwest Bronx.

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.