How to Vote in the New York Primary: Everything You Need to Know


At this point, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump seem like the inevitable front-runners. That doesn’t mean that the race is over, though. And it definitely doesn’t mean that you should stay home and watch TV instead of voting in the primary.

New York is worth 95 delegates for the Republicans and 291 for the Democrats, which makes it one of the most important states number-wise. And then there is the added factor that three of the candidates are from the Big Apple (Clinton, Trump and Sanders), which makes a potential hometown favorite harder to predict. So it’s time to brush up on all you need to know about voting in the New York primary.

And those of you, who plan on not registering to avoid jury duty, know this: Jurors aren’t only drawn from voter registration rolls, but also from lists of taxpayers and licensed drivers. So don’t give up your right to vote.


Everything You Need to Know

  •  When is the presidential primary in New York?
    April 19.


  • What parties are having a primary?
    The Democrats and the Republicans.There is a high number of other New York-based parties (like the Conservative Party, Green Party, Working Families Party, or the Women’s Equality Party), but they are not having primaries.


  • Who can I vote for?
    The Democrats have two candidates on the ballot: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.The Republicans have six candidates on the ballot, even though some of them have already suspended their campaign: Donald J. Trump, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson and Ted Cruz.
    You can only vote for these listed candidates, in the primary there aren’t any write-ins.


  • Who can vote in the primary?
    Every US citizen who is over 18 years old, not in prison or on parole and who has lived in New York for at least 30 days before the primary can vote.You can register to vote even if you are only 17, just as long as you turn 18 years old before April 19.


  • Where and until when do I need register? – AT THIS POINT, YOU CANT’ REGISTER ANYMORE –
    Download this form to register. Your application must be received by the Board of Elections no later than March 25th (in person or postmarked that day).Look at this list, to find the Board of Elections closest to you.You can also register at a number of other state agencies, like DMV offices, the City Universities of New York, military recruiting offices, the New York City Department for the Aging and many more. See the full list here.


  • How do I know if I am already registered?
    You can check online in this database by the Board of Elections.


  • What if I am a student in New York, but have residence in another state?
    If you are studying in New York, you can register to vote here. That registration will automatically cancel out the registration in the other state.


  • Do I need to affiliate with a party when I register?
    In general, you don’t need to enroll in a party in order to register to vote in New York, but if you want to vote in a primary then you do.


  • Can I decide spontaneously in which primary I want to vote?
    No. New York State has closed primaries, that means you can vote only in the primary of the party you are registered for.


  • What if I want to change my party enrollment?
    Unfortunately, you are already too late. New York has the earliest change-of-party deadline in the United States. The deadline was October 9 of last year.“This is done to prevent a phenomenon called ‘party raiding’; the intentional switching of a block of voters into a party to manipulate the outcome of a primary election,” explained John Conklin, a spokesman for the Board of Elections. “It’s a law that has been on the books for a very long time,” he said.This means, you can only vote in the primary of the party you are registered for. Only new voters who have never been registered before March 25th, can still enroll in a party in time for the primary.


  • Where do I need to go on Primary Day?
    Use the online Poll Site Locator to find your polling site.


  • What do I need to bring to vote?
    You need to bring some sort of identification, like your driver’s license or the last digits of your Social Security number.


  • What if I am at work and can’t get to vote?
    According to New York election law, you can take up to two hours at the beginning or end of your shift (with pay) to vote if you do not have sufficient time outside of work to vote.The law considers four consecutive hours between your shift and the opening/closing of the polls as sufficient time. If you need to take work off, you need to inform your employer at least two days before the primary.


  • What if I am not in New York at the time of the primary?
    You can vote per absentee ballot. Fill out this form to apply for it. The last day to postmark an application by mail is April 12, the last day to request it in person is April 18.