Stephen Reader covers politics for It's a Free Country, WNYC's interactive politics site. He joined the station in 2010 and has also worked for Studio 360, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning show about art, culture, and creativity.
New York's congressional primary is a month away, but the deadline to register to vote in the election comes next week. Here's what you need to do if you've never registered to vote, or changed addresses (or parties) since last time.
Friday, June 1st is the deadline to register if you want to vote in the congressional primaries on June 26th. (Click here for a complete list of contests.) Since New York is a closed primary state, you'll have to register with a party in order to vote in its primary. So take note: if you're not currently registered, you'll have to sign up with a party by June 1st to participate in the primary. If you're already registered, you missed the chance to change your party affiliation.
The process literally takes about 10 minutes. To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:
You'll need to fill out an application that doesn't ask for much more than a name and address. You can submit this application in person at one of the Board of Elections offices, or by mail – if the latter, the form must be postmarked by June 1st and received no later than June 6th. You can download the application from the NYC Board of Elections website; call the Phone Bank to have a postage-paid form delivered to you by mail; or get one from any library, post office, and most NYC government agencies.
When you register, you will also have the opportunity to select a political party affiliation. This is optional, but committing to a party does allows you to vote in future primary elections.
In order to verify your identity, the Board will need you to provide your DMV number (driver’s license number or non-driver ID number), or the last four digits of your social security number.
Bring a copy of one of these forms with you to the registration office, or mail it in with your application. That’s it! You’ve registered to vote.
You should receive a registration card within 4 to 6 weeks of completing your application. Normally, you’ll need to have this card with you at the polls, but it’s all right if you don’t get yours by Election Day; just be sure to bring one of those valid forms of ID when you go to the polls.