Frequently Asked Questions
How do I register to vote?
You may register to vote by completing a Voter Registration Form and submitting it to the Board of Elections by mail or in person. You may also register at any state agency participating in the National Voter Registration Act, on any business day throughout the year.
Who can register to vote?
You must be a US Citizen and 18 years of age by December 31st of the year you register.
(You must be 18 years old by the date of the General , Primary or Special Election in which you wish to vote. )
I have moved, how do I change my address?
I you move within the county, you may notify the Board of Elections of your new address by completing a new Voter Registration Form.
How do I change my name?
You may change your name by completing a new Voter Registration Form.
How do I change my party affiliation?
You may notify the Board of Elections of your intent to enroll in a party or change parties by completing a new Voter Registration Form. Party changes occur once a year after the General Election. (Example: If you submit a party affiliation change in May, it will take effect the next November.)
Do I have to register every year?
NO. Once you register, you are permanently registered until:
- You register to vote in another state
- You are Convicted of a felony
- You are adjudged mentally incompetent by a court
- You notify the Board of Election in writing that you wish to be removed from the rolls
- You are purged from the system (A voter in inactive status who does not vote in two consecutive Federal Elections is, in the fifth year, removed from the list of voters. The voter must re-register in order to vote.)
If I attend a school outside of Otsego County, where should I register?
If you register to vote in the county where you attend school, you may vote there, in person, on election day.
If you wish to remain registered in Otsego County, you may apply for an absentee ballot while you are away from home.
Can a felony conviction affect my right to vote?
You may not register or vote, if you have been convicted of a felony and for that felony:
- You are currently incarcerated; or
- You are under parole supervision (unless pardoned or restored to the rights of citizenship by the governor)
- You may register and vote if you were convicted of a felony and for that felony:
- You were sentenced to probation;
- You were not sentenced to incarceration or your prison sentence was suspended;
- You have served your maximum prison sentence; in which case you are able to re-register to vote
- You were on parole and then discharged, in which case you are able to re-register to vote
- You have received a pardon
How do I apply for an absentee ballot?
You may apply for an absentee ballot by completing an Absentee Ballot Application Absentee Ballot Application and submitting it to the Board of Elections.
Who qualifies for an absentee ballot?
You may apply for an absentee ballot if you will be out of the county on an election day, have a temporary or permanent disability, or are a primary caretaker for someone with a temporary or permanent disability.
Do I need to apply every election?
You must apply for absentee ballots for each election cycle/year (you may apply for both a Primary and General Election ballot on the same form).
Voters with a permanent illness or disability need only apply once, ballots will be sent for each election in the future.
I applied for an absentee ballot, why have I not recieved it?
Absentee ballots are sent out approximately 32 days before an election. Ballots cannot be mailed before the candidates are known and the ballots printed.
If it is after the 30-day mark, and you have not recieved a ballot, please contact the board of elections.
If you applied for an absentee for a primary election, and the political party in which you are enrolled is not holding a primary, you will not recieve a ballot.
I sent in my absentee ballot, but my travel plans have changed, and now I will be in the county on election day.
You should go to your polling place on election day and vote in person. Your absentee ballot will not be opened.
What is a Primary election?
A primary is held to determine who will run for an office on a particular party’s line. Voters affiliated/enrolled with that party will decide who will appear on the General Election ballot as a candidate for their party. If there is no contest, there is no election.
Can I vote in a Primary Election if I am not a member of the party holding the primary?
NO. Only voters currently registered as members of the party holding the primary may participate.
In certain cases, parties may open up their primaries to non-enrolled members.
What is a General election?
A general election is held every November to fill offices that will become vacant as of December 31st that year. General elections are open to all registered voters.
Where is my Polling Place?
You may look up your polling place by clicking here.
When are the polls open?
Polling hours for a Primary Election are NOON-9PM, and for a General Election are 6AM-9PM.
Do I need to bring my voter card/proof of ID?
NO. New York State does not require that you have a voter identification card with you on election day. However, if you neglected to provide proof of ID on your Voter Registration Form, you may be asked to provide ID on election day.
If I am enrolled in a political party, can I vote for candidates on other party lines?
YES. In a General Election, you may vote for any candidate on the ballot you wish, regardless of your party affiliation.
Where are the Propositions/Proposals?
Propositions or proposals will appear on one side of the ballot and candidates on the other..
If a candidate appears multiple times, can I vote on each line?
NO. Only fill in one oval per candidate. If you vote for a candidate multiple times in the same contest, only the vote for the uppermost party will be counted. If you want your vote to count for a party lower on the ballot, fill in that oval only.
How many candidates can I vote for in each contest?
You may vote for the number of vacancies allotted at the top of the contest column.
My preferred candidate does not appear on the ballot. How do I vote for them?
You may write-in the name of a candidate whose name does not appear on the ballot in the WRITE-IN box located at the bottom of the contest column.
Print neatly and keep the name within the borders of the box for that race.
Can I show support for my candidate at the polling place?
NO. Electioneering is not allowed within 100 feet of the Polling Place entrance. All political signs and demonstrations must be beyond this point. No political clothing, badges or buttons are allowed within the polling place.