"Democracy is not a spectator sport" proclaims a flyer distributed by the League of Women Voters. Indeed, the cornerstone of any truly democratic government is free and open public elections - but these don't matter unless you, as a citizen, are an actively involved participant. To play a role in this vital process, you have to be registered to vote.
National Voter Registration Day is a nonpartisan civic "holiday" celebrating our democracy. Scheduled annually on the fourth Tuesday of September, it was first observed in 2012, and has quickly gained momentum ever since. To date, nearly 3 million voters have registered to vote on this holiday. Its base is a consortium of voter and political advocacy groups, along with government agencies and corporate partners. Its mission is "to create broad awareness of voter registration opportunities to reach tens of thousands of voters who may not register otherwise.” On this day, these organizations (along with many volunteers) make a coordinated, unified effort to publicize and advocate voter registration opportunities wherever they may exist nationwide, through media presence and special field events.
Are YOU registered to vote?
Just after Labor Day, the Suffolk County Board of Elections mailed out a General Election information letter to every household with a registered voter. If you did not receive this letter, or if your name was not listed on it, you may not be registered to vote, your registration may have lapsed due to inactivity, or your address on-file with the BOE is incorrect. Now is the time to take action to ensure that you are able to vote in the upcoming 2020 Presidential/General Election (as well the 2021 June Primaries and other elections).
To check the status of your registration, look up your voter record.
How do I register or update my voter record?
Minimum requirements to vote: be at least 18 years of age (by the date of the election) and a U.S. citizen.
You must fill out a Voter Registration Form, whether you are a soon-to-be voter or an already-registered voter who wants to ensure that their record is kept accurate and up-to-date (i.e. changes in name, address, party affiliation, etc.). You can obtain a form and register in three ways:
- Fill out and mail the paper form to your local/county Board of Elections (mailing addresses are listed on the back of the form)
- Fill out and hand-deliver the form in-person to your local BOE offices (Suffolk County BOE is located at 700 Yaphank Avenue in Yaphank)
- Register and submit an e-form online using the New York State DMV portal (or access via your “MyDMV” account if you have one set up).
Regardless of which method you use, under state election law, the form MUST be mailed/submitted to the BOE at least 25 days before a general election to be accepted for processing. This year, the deadline is October 9th. However, given that the BOE has been experiencing higher-than-normal volumes of forms for processing, it could take UP TO 6 WEEKS before your registration is completely processed or updated. Therefore, you are strongly urged to FILE THE FORM IMMEDIATELY if you want to ensure that your registration is validated in time for the upcoming elections.
Where can I get a form?
As mentioned above, the form is available online and in print formats. We have plenty of paper forms available, in English and Spanish (as do most public libraries and post offices). Just come to the Adult Services desk and ask a librarian for a copy.
Need more information about voter registration and other election topics?
South Huntington Public Library has flyers, pamphlets and forms (with instructions) on file to get you started and answer any general questions you may have. In addition, the Suffolk Cooperative Library System has created a concise, easy-to-navigate online LibGuide that includes comprehensive and helpful explanations, summaries (by topic) and links to external resources and official information.
There are many online resources for general information, such as voter record look-up, forms, polling place listings (with dates, times and locations), political calendars (with filing deadlines), candidate listings, election procedures & statutes, and much more. The following are relevant and suggested as a starting point (many of them overlap in content, while some are more specialized):
Don't wait to take action: YOUR VOTE MATTERS!
Reference Librarian, Adult Services Department
Polling Inspector (D-Huntington), Suffolk County Board of Elections