The next election will take place on Tuesday, November 3rd. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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 2020 in Tompkins County are:
Town of Ithaca Town Hall 215 N Tioga Street Ithaca, NY 14850
Crash Fire Rescue (C.F.R.) 72 Brown Road Ithaca NY 14850
The polls will be open from October 24th until November 1st, at variable hours.
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?
Yes. Due to COVID-19, the governor made an exception to the rules which allowed all New York State voters to request an absentee ballot for the primary. A separate ruling was made for the November election. Absentee ballots will be mailed from the Tompkins County Board of Elections in late September.
What will the ballot look like?
Our ballot will have a number of lines, with most candidates appearing on several of them. Three of the Democratic candidates will also appear on the Working Families Party line: Joe Biden, Tracy Mitrano, and Anna Kelles.
If a Democratic candidate appears on two lines, 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 rural people might be willing to vote for (Democrat) John Doe but can't bear the thought of voting on the Democratic line.
This year, it matters very much which line voters vote on, in New York, in the Presidential race. New rules require all minor parties to get over 200,000 votes for their Presidential candidate this year, or else lose their line in future elections. This rule will almost certainly eliminate the Independence Party, the Libertarian Party, and the Green Party ballot lines in our state. The Conservative Party will keep their line, and the Working Families Party has a chance. Last time, they got something over 100,000 votes, but the cut-off was 50,000 votes at that time.
Most upstate Democratic candidates benefit from being able to run on the WFP line and are therefore encouraging voters to vote for Joe Biden on the WFP line.
Who is voting?
In the general election, all registered voters can vote.
Do I have to be registered?
Yes. The deadline to register for the general election is October 9. 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 town 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.
If there are multiple candidates for the Democratic nominee for these positions, there will be primaries in June.
From 2019 onward, all primaries in New York will take place in June and the general elections will be in November -- the only exception is the Presidential primary, which can occur on various dates, and tends to change at least slightly, every four years.