Making Democracy Work

Elections

For any questions regarding your ballot please call your County Board of Elections office or call our State League office at (518) 465-4163. Are you Registered to vote? Check here: https://voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us/

Voter Information

Election Day is November 7th, 2017

Are you Registered to vote? Check here: https://voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us/

Here are two NYS BOE links with info on voting qualifications and deadlines:

http://www.elections.ny.gov/votingregister.html

https://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingDeadlines.html

Issues with Registration or Voting

If you arrive at your polling place and you are not in the book of registered voters, you should ask for an affidavit ballot.

If you want to check on your registration before the election, you can call the Westchester Board of Elections at 995-5713 or go to their website: http://citizenparticipation.westchestergov.com/

Please Exercise Your Hard-Won Right to Vote

By Ina Aronow

When you volunteer to register voters, as I have done for the League of Women Voters for many years, you get a wide range of reactions:

"Yay. I'm 18 and I can vote!"

"I'm a citizen now. At last, I can vote!" said with teary eyes.

Then there are the refusals: "What difference does my vote make?" "All the candidates are awful" "Politics is crooked."

As a believer in democracy, it makes me sad when people are apathetic about voting. According to bipartisanpolicy.org, the number of voters was down significantly in the 2012 Presidential election to an estimated 58% of the eligible pool: "Despite an increase of over eight million citizens in the eligible population, turnout declined from 131 million voters in 2008 to an estimated 126 million voters in 2012 when all ballots are tallied. Some 93 million eligible citizens did not vote."

In New Rochelle, of the approximately 41,000 registered voters, about 11,000 or 27% voted in the New Rochelle Mayoral election in 2011. In some local races, it's not unusual to read that a handful of votes determined the outcome of an election

So here is my plea: Democracy only works if you and all of us are part of it. Just as a long journey unfolds one foot at a time, democracy is implemented one vote at a time. One of the only places where everyone is truly equal is the voting booth.

Appreciate your right to vote. It wasn't always possible to vote and it has been an uphill battle to expand the vote.

When the US was formed in 1776, only some white men with property had the right to vote. Catholics, Quakers and Jews were barred from voting.

In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution recognized African Americans as citizens, but still only gave African-American men the right to vote. In 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment was needed to forbid any state or local government to deny that right.

In 1920, after decades of heated opposition, the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified to give women the right to vote.

In 1940, Congress recognized all Native Americans as citizens, but it was not until 1947 that all states recognized their right to vote.

In 1943, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was repealed, giving Chinese immigrants the right to citizenship and the right to vote.

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, banning literacy taxes, poll taxes and other obstacles designed to keep people from voting. But there are still calculated attempts by some states to create obstacles to voting and thus sway the result.

If you are a citizen and 18 or older, in order to vote, you need to fill out a Voter Registration Form and mail it or take it to your county Board of Elections. It is optional to declare your political party, which would entitle you to vote in the party's primary election in New York. An easy way to get the form is to download it from the internet at the following sites:
http://citizenparticipation.westchestergov.com/images/stories/pdfs/VoterRegistration2015.pdf http://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/Download/voting/voteform.pdf

New Rochelle residents can mail their completed forms to the Westchester County address listed in White Plains. You also can pick up a copy of the Voter Registration Form from your local Board of Elections, municipal offices, or from a volunteer group like the League of Women Voters. The League will also bring completed forms to the Board of Elections.

Then get to know the candidates and the issues. Start with your local governments and get to meet the candidates. Encourage your friends, family members and neighbors to vote.

If you find yourself drawn to politics or particular issues, you can volunteer with a political party or an issue-oriented organization. If you've read this so far, you are on your way to becoming an informed voter.

Register to Vote

Are you Registered to vote? Check here: https://voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us

IN PERSON REGISTRATION (N.Y. Election Law Sections 5-210, 5-211, 5-212) You may register at your local board of elections or any state agency participating in the National Voter Registration Act, on any business day throughout the year.

For more information go to Voter Services

Voter information online, Registration Deadlines and forms