Published in
The Empire

Wanna switch parties? You've got a week

by Sarah P. Reynolds

If you’re on the fence about changing your political party, you better think fast.  Are you an independent at heart but still registered in the two-party system? Are you a Republican who's feeling tired of your party's platform? Are you a Democrat watching your pals take a wrong turn? Are you marching in the Occupy Wall Street and feeling a change of heart?  This deadline may be for you!

October 14th is the deadline for voters who want to change their party affiliation for next year’s primaries. If you want to change it for this year’s General Election, you’re already out of luck. According to the New York State Board of Elections, state law prohibits a voter from changing their enrollment party and then voting in that new party in the same year.

According to John Conklin, Director of Public Information for the New York State Board of Elections, the law is designed to prevent voters from switching parties between elections without a waiting period, which could potentially manipulate election results. If a voter applies for a change in party affiliation by the deadline, the new enrollment would go into effect one week after this November’s General Election.

This rule does not apply to new voters in the state who still have time to register for next year; up to 25 days before the primaries.

October 14th (the postmark date) is also the final day to register for this year’s General Election which will be held on November 8th.

For both voter registration and a change to party affiliation, registrants must fill out the same voter registration form. You can get this form at your County Board of Elections, download it from the State Board of Elections website or call 1-800-FOR-VOTE.