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Frequently Asked Questions

Who Can Vote?
Where Can I Get A Mail Registration Application?
Can I Register In Person?
Do I Have To Register Every Year?
How Will I Know Where To Vote?
How Do Candidates Get On The Ballot?
Who Can Sign A Petition?
Should I Be Concerned About Signing A Petition?
What Is A Primary Election?
Why Should I Enroll In A Political Party?
How Do I Enroll In A Political Party?
What Happens If I Can't Vote On Election Day?
How Can I Get An Absentee Ballot?
How Do I Mark A Paper Ballot?
I'm Disabled. Where Can I Vote?
What Do I Need When I Go To Vote?
What Do I Do When I Get To The Polling Place?
What If I'm Not Permitted To Vote?
How Do Voting Machines Work?
Suppose I Need Help?
If I Register To Vote, Will I Be Called For Jury Duty?
Can A Felony Conviction Affect My Right To Vote?
Voter Registration Forms

"Who Can Vote?"
You must be a registered voter in order to vote in the general or primary elections. To register, you must be a United States citizen, be 18 years old by the date of the election you want to vote, live at your present address for at least 30 days before an election, not be in jail or on parole for a felony conviction, and not claim the right to vote elsewhere.

"Where Can I Get A Mail Registration Application?"
E-mail your mailing address to or call (516) 571-2411 and ask to have a postage-paid application sent to you. You may also pick one up at your local post office, library or motor vehicle office. Visit our registration page for more information.

"Can I Register In Person?"
Yes. Many public agencies are now providing voter registration forms and assistance. You can also register at Nassau County Board of Elections Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 4:45 p.m.

If you don't get a registration card within 4 to 6 weeks of completing your application, you might want to call the Board of Elections (516) 571-2411 to see if your application was processed.

"Do I Have To Register Every Year?"
No. Once you register, you are permanently registered. Name, address or party enrollment changes can be made by submitting a new registration application. If you move, you should notify the Board of Elections as soon as possible, by re-registering.

The Board of Elections will transfer the registration and enrollment of any voter for whom it receives a notice of change of address to another address in New York City, or for any voter who casts a ballot in an affidavit ballot envelope which sets forth the new address.

If the Board of Elections receives notice at least twenty days before a primary, special or general election, it must complete the change of address before the election.

"How Will I Know Where To Vote?"
You should receive a postcard from the Board of Elections some time in August, telling you where to vote. Watch for it! It will also indicate your election district number which you need to know on election day. Or, you can e-mail your complete home address to

"How Do Candidates Get On The Ballot?"
In New York State, most candidates get on the ballot by filing a petition containing a specified number of signatures. The required amount varies, depending on the office sought and whether the candidate is seeking a party nomination or a spot on the ballot as an independent.

"Who Can Sign A Petition?"
Only enrolled party members may sign petitions for candidates who seek their party's nomination. However, any registered voter living within the appropriate district may sign a petition for a candidate seeking to run as an independent in the general election as long as s/he has not already signed on behalf of another candidate.

"Should I Be Concerned About Signing A Petition?"
Absolutely not! The reluctance of some to sign petitions makes it difficult for those without strong political party backing to get the requisite number of signatures and run for elected office. Signing a petition is an important way to participate in the electoral process.

"What Is A Primary Election?"
A primary is an election that may take place within each of New York State's official political parties. It precedes the general election and provides enrolled political party members the opportunity to nominate their party's candidates for elected office as well as to elect various party officials. However, if there is no contest, there is no primary.

"Why Should I Enroll In A Political Party?"
Enrolled party members who help nominate candidates by signing petitions and voting in the primary have greater political clout than non-enrolled voters who can vote only in the general election.

Moreover, you are not obligated to vote for your party's candidate in the general election. In November, you may vote for any candidate from any party.

"How Do I Enroll In A Political Party?"
You voluntarily enroll in any party by indicating your preference on the voter registration form either at the same time that you register to vote or by re-registering.

"What Happens If I Can't Vote On Election Day?"
If you will be out of town on election day or are physically unable to go to the polls, you can vote by absentee ballot.

"How Can I Get An Absentee Ballot?"
Absentee ballot applications can be obtained by writing the Board of Elections, calling (516) 571-2411 emailing your request to or visiting our Voting by Absentee Ballot

"How Do I Mark A Paper Ballot"
Be sure to follow the directions that are printed on a paper ballot. Paper ballots are canvassed by scanning them with machines so you must mark them correctly. It is simple to do. Just fill in the ovals near your choice. Do not use any other mark. Fill in the ovals with a pencil or a pen with blue or black ink. Do not write anywhere on the ballot. If you want to vote for someone whose name does not appear on the ballot - you may write his or her name in the write-in box and fill in the oval on that write-in box. If there are propositions up for vote, you will find them on the back of the ballot. Mark your vote by filling in the oval next to either "yes" or "no".

"I'm Disabled. Where Can I Vote?"
Most polling places are now accessible to the handicapped. If yours is not, you may ask to have your records transferred to a nearby accessible polling place where the ballot will be the same as in your election district.

You may also vote by absentee ballot. If you have a long-term or permanent illness or disability, you can apply for a permanent absentee ballot and you will automatically receive one before each primary and general election. Click Here for information.

"What Do I Need When I Go To Vote?"
Nothing. Just appear at the polling place indicated on the card you get from the Board of Elections between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. on election day. You need not show any identification or your card from the Board of Elections in order to vote.

"What Do I Do When I Get To The Polling Place?"
When you enter the polling place, you'll see tables and voting machines for one or more election districts (E.D.). At the table for your E.D. you will be asked to sign next to a facsimile of your original signature on an alphabetical computerized poll-list.

"What If I'm Not Permitted To Vote?"
If you are not on the poll-list, ask the inspector to verify that you are at the proper table for your address. Make sure that it is your correct Election and Assembly District. It may be because your registration form was not received by the deadline or, for a primary, because you aren't enrolled in a party. If you believe that you are eligible, you can still vote. Ask for an affidavit ballot, which is basically a paper ballot. After the election, the Board of Elections will check its records and your vote will be counted if you are indeed eligible to vote and are at the correct polling site. If not, you will receive a notice that you are not eligible, along with a registration application for future elections.

"How Do The New Voting Machines Work?"
The DS200 Ballot Scanner system is a portable electronic voting system that uses an optical scanner to read marked paper ballots and tally the results. This system allows for paper ballots to be immediately tabulated at your polling site. The DS200 also notifies you of any voting errors. You will be able to immediately correct these errors to ensure that Your Vote Counts.

"Suppose I Need Help?"
If you need some help because you are disabled or cannot read the ballot, federal law allows you to have a friend or relative assist you in the voting booth. Election employees at the polling place are also ready to help you.

"If I Register To Vote, Will I Be Called For Jury Duty?"
Jurors are drawn from lists of state taxpayers and licensed drivers as well as from voter registration rolls. Do not give up your right to vote in the hope that you will avoid jury duty. Chances are, if you pay taxes or drive a car, you will still be called. Besides, serving on a jury is a privilege, one that permits you to personally stand up for all Americans' right to a trial by a jury of their peers.

"Can A Felony Conviction Affect My Right To Vote?"

You Cannot Register For Or Vote In An Election If:

  • You have been convicted of a felony in New York State and are currently incarcerated serving your sentence.
  • You have been convicted of a felony in New York State and are currently serving parole.
  • You have been convicted in a Federal Court or in ANOTHER STATE of a crime or offense which would constitute a felony under the laws of New York State, unless you meet any one of the five conditions below.

You Can Register For Or Vote In An Election If:

  • You have been convicted of a felony but have been pardoned.
  • Your maximum sentence of imprisonment has expired.
  • You have been discharged from parole.
  • You have been convicted but have not been sentenced to imprisonment or if the sentence of imprisonment has been suspended.
  • You finished your maximum sentence and are currently serving probation.


Note: In Order To Be Eligible To Register One Must Be A Citizen Of The United States.

A Permanent Resident, A Green Card Holder, Or A Person Who Is In This Country On A Visa Is Not Eligible To Register To Vote Until S/He Obtains Citizenship.

Voter Registration Form
(Visit our registration page for more information.)

  • In order to be processed, line #1 of the voter registration form must be checked - "Are you a U.S. citizen?___Yes ___No"
  • If this box is not completed the registration form will be returned to the registrant requesting that the material be furnished and the form be completed.
  • If a voter's citizenship has been challenged the Board of Elections has a right to investigate and verify the authenticity of the claim.