The next election for Caroline voters will be June 28, 2022. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The elections will be for the political parties that are holding primaries, for federal, statewide, and state office. For Caroline, that will include races for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, US Senate, US Congress, State Assembly, and State Senate. There are likely to be Democratic and Republican party primaries for all of those races. In addition, State Party positions will be voted on in June.
Because the state must first finalize its redistricting maps, many candidates did not know the boundaries of their districts until immediately before the time that they needed to start petitioning to get on the ballot.
Caroline has, rather unexpectedly, fallen into a State Senate district along with Binghamton and a Congressional district along with Syracuse! Both districts have demographics that favor Democrats.
When can I vote?
Voters in New York are now able to vote during a 9-day-long period before Election Day, at a limited number of polling locations during limited hours. The locations in 2021 in Tompkins County were:
Town of Ithaca Town Hall 215 N Tioga Street Ithaca, NY 14850
Crash Fire Rescue (C.F.R.) 72 Brown Road Ithaca NY 14850
PLEASE vote early if you can, because that will allow our volunteers to focus on helping the people who have not yet voted.
Find more information at the website of the Tompkins County Board of Elections, here.
Will I be able to vote absentee?
Unfortunately, a ballot initiative in November 2021, which would have guaranteed any New Yorker the right to an absentee ballot without them having to offer an "excuse", did not pass. It is unclear whether average voters will have access to absentee ballots this cycle. Please plan to vote early to be sure your vote is counted.
What will the November 2022 ballot look like?
Of course no one knows yet! However, we do know that there are only four ballot lines now: Democratic, Republican, Working Families, and Conservative. Likely any given candidate will appear on two of the four lines during a general election.
If a Democratic candidate appears on two lines on the November ballot, which one should I vote on?
All the votes for a candidate on different lines are counted together (this is called fusion voting). It normally doesn't matter which line you vote on. Candidates usually try to get their names on several lines so that someone who might want to vote for them has several options for HOW to vote for them. For example, some voters might be willing to vote for (Democrat) John Doe but can't bear the thought of voting on the Democratic line.
Sometimes I've seen local candidates running on a "Caroline Party" line -- what is that about?
In any given election in the state of New York, a candidate can also choose to follow the "Independent Nomination" procedure to get on the ballot, rather than (or in addition to) getting on the ballot through one of the four recognized parties. It takes a certain amount of work to do this -- the candidate has to collect signatures from voters who have not signed any other petition in the same race. As part of the Independent Nominating process, the candidate can choose a name for that line, sometimes called a "party for a day." In the past, Democratic candidates in the Town of Caroline have gathered signatures in order to appear on both the Democratic Party line and an additional line which they have called "Caroline Party." The reason to do so is again, as above, to give voters more ways to vote for our candidates, seeing as all the votes are counted together under fusion voting rules.
Who is voting?
In the general election, all registered voters can vote. In a primary, a voter can ONLY vote if they are registered in a party (one of the four named above).
Do I have to be registered?
Yes. The deadline to register to vote in a primary will be on or around May 28th. But if a voter is already registered and wishes to re-register in a new party, that deadline is February 14th. For the general election, people can register to vote up until roughly October 8th. Registering online via the DMV is possible but often involves delays, so that a person can miss the registration deadline. The recommended way to register is to fill out a paper registration form and deliver it or mail it to the Board of Elections office on Buffalo St. in Ithaca. They will mail you a postcard to confirm your registration -- be sure to follow up with them if you don't get your postcard within a few weeks!
What if I would like to run for office myself?
If you are a Democrat and would like to run for office in 2021, you should meet with your county Democratic Board of Elections Commissioner, and/or with the Democratic Committee in your town or county. They can advise you on the requirements, especially regarding the petitioning process and deadlines and the filing of financial reports. While anyone can run for office (assuming they meet an age requirement and the relevant residency requirement), candidates are more likely to win and go on to be successful in office if they have already served their community in other capacities, perhaps on a task force or commission or advisory board. The Caroline Democratic Committee is happy to suggest ways for people to "build their resumes" this way, including help with logistics like finding and paying for child care.