Voting Rights and Voter Registration
1. Eligibility to Vote
According to New York State Election Law §5-1 06, individuals in jail, prison, or on parole for a felony conviction cannot vote. This means that some persons with criminal convictions are legally prohibited from voting, however the majority of individuals can and should vote.
The following list indicates individuals who are eligible to vote:
- Those convicted of a misdemeanor;
- Those currently in jail awaiting grand jury action, trial or disposition of a case but not convicted of a felony;
- Those convicted of a felony who do not receive a sentence of
- Those convicted of a felony who are no longer on parole.
If you meet the above criteria, you may register and vote in an upcoming election. Your right to vote is returned automatically when you complete your maximum sentence or are discharged from parole or probation. If you have been issued a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities or a Certificate of Good Conduct while on parole, you may register to vote.
2. How to Register to Vote
You may obtain a voter registration form by writing to any Board of Elections and requesting the form. When you receive the form, complete it, and mail or deliver it to the Board of Election in the county of your permanent address. If you are in jail or prison awaiting grand jury action or trial, or confined after conviction for an offense other than a felony, you may
register to vote in the county of your permanent address. List the jail or prison address as the place where you receive your mail temporarily. For Westchester voters, voter registration forms can be downloaded from http://citizenparticipation.westchestergov.com/register-to-vote
3. Voter Registration Dates
You should contact you local Board of Election to find out the deadline for registration applications for eligibility to vote in a primary and general election.
4. How to Obtain an Absentee Ballot
Request an Absentee Ballot by sending a letter to the Board of Elections in the county where you are registered. The letter must be received by your county board no earlier than 30 days and no later than seven days before an election. The letter must contain the following information:
- the address where you are registered,
- an address where the ballot is to be sent,
- the reason for the request, and
- the signature of the voter.
An Absentee Ballot application and your Absentee Ballot will then be mailed to you. The application form must be completed and mailed with your ballot. Your ballot must be postmarked no later than the day before an election.
Alternatively, you may pick up an absentee ballot application from your county Board of Elections. Upon completion, the application must be mailed to your county board no later than the seventh day before the election or delivered in person no later than the day before the election. You will then receive your ballot. You must return your ballot to the board with a postmark no later than the day before the election. If you cannot pick up your ballot, or will not be able to receive it through the mail on time, you have the right to designate someone to pick it up for you as late as the day before the election. Only the person designated on your application may pick up and deliver your ballot.
5. How to Fill Out the Absentee Ballot Application
Fill in your name and permanent address where you are registered to vote.
If you are detained in jail or prison awaiting grand jury action or trial, or confined after conviction for an offense that was not a felony, check the box entitled JAIL or PRISON in the section entitled “The Reason I am Requesting an Absentee Application.” In addition, in the appropriate section write the jail or prison address as the location where the ballot should be mailed.
Westchester County Board of Elections
25 Quarropas Street
White Plains, NY 10601
Absentee Ballots: (914) 995-5285
Registrations: (914) 995-5713