2020 Elections in New York: What You Need to Know

2020 Dates to Remember

  • October 9: Deadline to register for the General Election (either in person, online, or mail-in registration postmarked)
  • November 3: General Election


Useful Links

Register to vote online

Find your County Elections Office

Download the Voter Registration Drive Checklist

Download the New York State Voter Registration Form

CWA Endorsements

Jump to a Section

Dates and Rules

Holding a Voter Registration Drive (In Person) - General Instructions and Tips

Tips for Running a COVID-19-Conscious Voter Registration Drive

Holding a Virtual Voter Registration Drive


Voter Registration

New York State Voter Registration Deadlines

  • In Person: 25 days before Election Day.
  • By Mail: Postmarked 25 days before Election Day. Received 20 days before Election Day.
  • Online: 25 days before Election Day


To register to vote in New York State you must:

  • be a citizen of the United States
  • be a resident of New York and the county, city, or village for at least 30 days before Election Day
  • be at least 16-years old (16- and 17-year-olds may preregister to vote, but cannot vote until they are 18)
  • not be in prison or on parole for a felony conviction (unless parolee pardoned or restored rights of citizenship)
  • not currently be judged incompetent by a court
  • not claim the right to vote elsewhere

How to Register

Holding a Voter Registration Drive (In Person)

Download the Voter Registration Drive Checklist

Download the New York State Voter Registration Form

Dates to Remember

  • Mailed registration applications must be postmarked by no later than October 9th and received by no later than October 14th.
    • Important to note: the US Postal Service is experiencing continued delays due to the COVID-19 crisis. If returning registration forms by mail, you are strongly encouraged to put them in the mail ASAP, well before the October 9th postmark deadline, to be certain that they will be received by October 14th.
  • The deadline for in-person registration is October 9th. 

Getting Registration Forms

During the Registration Drive

  • Be sure to keep registration drives nonpartisan, and take the time to practice your registration “pitch” with volunteers. Registering people to vote isn't the time to talk about our CWA-endorsed candidates.
  • Quickly check all forms for completion. In particular, check to see that registrants have:
    • Checked the box affirming they are over 18 (unless pre-registering).
    • Checked the box affirming they are a US citizen.
    • Provided any required identification number, usually their driver’s license number or some or all digits of their social security number.
    • Signed and dated the form.
  • Keep track of how many people you register.
  • You can also use the time to ask members to sign up to receive email or text-message updates from CWA about the election, and/or volunteer opportunities.
    This information is key to following up with voters to provide helpful information about voting, and will also help your team maintain accurate records about your voter registration drives.
  • Closer to election day, help get the new registrants out to vote by directing them to polling place or giving them vote-by-mail information.

Handling Registration Forms

  • Do not fill in any missing information on a registration form unless you have permission from the applicant.
  • You may have members who live in different countries - be sure to sort your completed forms so they can be returned to the appropriate county BOE office. 
  • Return completed applications to the appropriate County Elections Office by the 25th day before Election Day or earlier. 


Tips for Running a COVID-19-Conscious Voter Registration Drive 

  • Make sure all registration drive volunteers are equipped with proper PPE, including masks and gloves
    •  If you can, provide disposable masks to people who do not have one
  • Bring sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer
  • Bring plenty of single-use pens with you - don't allow different registrants to reuse pens
  • Do your best to maintain 6 feet between registrants, and between drive volunteers and registrants and limit contact as much as possible
    • If you're using tables, space them out as much as possible
    • Maintain distance when sharing forms with voters by placing forms on a clipboard or tablet and stepping back. Registrants can then step forward to fill out their form.
    • Or, once paper forms have been completed, you could have individuals place their forms in a box to avoid having to hand it back to an event organizer or volunteer. 
    • Another option is to have registrants fill out their forms in their cars and then return them.
    • New York offers online voter registration - instead of having members fill out paper registration forms, you can also text a link to the registration form to each person or have them copy the link (voterreg.dmv.ny.gov/MotorVoter) to register on their own mobile device.
  •  Do your best to regularly sanitize all equipment, especially high-touch areas such as phone/tablet/computer screens if you are offering online voter registration, table tops, and clipboards.
  • Set up a sanitizer or hand-washing station, and have anti-bacterial wipes available for wiping down clipboards and other places that have high touch volume. Encourage regular use of these stations.


Holding a Virtual Registration Drive

>>Register to vote in New York State online<<

There are several options for encouraging online voter registration with your members!

  1. Mass text
  2. Mass email
  3. Phonebank
  4. Textbank
  5. Social media

1. Mass text: If you regularly text your members, you can easily send everyone the link to register online (voterreg.dmv.ny.gov/MotorVoter). Feel free to use or edit this sample text for your members:

Are you registered to vote? Go to voterreg.dmv.ny.gov/MotorVoter right now to register. Takes 5 mins. This is an important election - we need everyone to vote!

2. Mass email: Email your members with the link to register online (voterreg.dmv.ny.gov/MotorVoter). You can use or edit this sample email for your members. The deadline to register is October 9; consider creating a schedule to email multiple times before then, such as once per month until October and then twice in the week leading up to October 9. 

3. Phonebank: Speak with the D1 Political Team to get your local set up to make calls to members to discuss voter registration options. 

4. Textbank: Speak with the D1 Political Team to get your local set up on Hustle to text members to discuss voter registration and easily/quickly send the link to register.

5. Social media: Feel free to use these sample graphics and social media posts to encourage people to register online. The deadline to register is October 9; consider creating a schedule to post multiple times before then, such as 2-3 posts per week until October 8, and then multiple posts throughout October 8 and 9.

Hold a Virtual Registration Day of Action! You can pick a day and combine several of the tactics above to get the word out about registration and do a big push to share the link and get people to register.


More info on how, when, and where to help get out the vote for great pro-worker candidates coming soon!