Some voter registration info has to be updated by Fri Oct 9
This is the second in a series of posts with locally-oriented voter information. The first topic was how to register to vote. This post is about updating your voter registration information.
An introduction to the series and all the posts (as they get written) can be viewed on the web via this link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TvWAbTkJCel7S9Og76xyFt846W3L1KbmL5u61zJAQkU/edit?usp=sharing
TOPIC TWO: HOW AND WHY TO UPDATE YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION INFORMATION
1. DO I NEED TO UPDATE MY VOTER REGISTRATION?
If you have received an absentee ballot for the November 3 election, your registration information has already been updated.
If you are not sure whether your registration is is current and accurate, you can call the Tompkins County Board of Elections at (607) 274-5522 or check online at
2. WHEN DO I HAVE TO MAKE CHANGES?
Since re-registration is the only way you can update your voter registration, the October 9 registration deadline applies to people who need to update their voter information. (How to register is detailed in the first post; registration basics are repeated at the end of this post.)
3. WHY DO SOME PEOPLE HAVE TO RE-REGISTER?
There are two main reasons people need to re-register:
a. IF YOU HAVE MOVED since the last time you voted.
b. IF YOU HAVEN’T VOTED RECENTLY.
—If a voter information postcard was returned to the Board of Elections because you no longer receive mail at the address listed on your registration, AND if you also have not voted for more than 2 presidential elections, you have probably been removed from the roll of registered voters. You need to re-register by October 9 in order to vote.
—If you moved within the same voting district AND if you have voted relatively recently, you may still be able to vote in person, even if you miss the Oct 9 deadline to re-register. If you think this may apply to you, call the Board of Elections: (607) 274-5522
—You may still be able to vote, even if you miss the Oct 9 deadline. If your registration is “inactive” rather than “purged,” As long as you were not purged, you can still vote in person (either early or on Election Day) via affidavit ballot, which will reactivate your voting status.
Here a couple of reasons you would NOT have to re-register:
1. Your signature probably hasn’t changed as much as you think it has.
—Your signature is almost always still recognizable as uniquely yours even with changes due to arthritis or other medical conditions.
—If you vote in person, we poll workers have found that people’s signatures remain surprisingly recognizable, even using a stylus on the new electronic poll books.
—The Tompkins County Board of Elections does NOT disqualify voters based on whether or not they use a middle initial every time they sign.
NOTE: If your signature has changed significantly, for example if you have switched from writing your name in cursive to making a vague squiggle, you can update your signature when voting in person early or on Election Day, or by re-registering at any time of the year. If you want to use an Absentee Ballot to vote in the November election, but missed the Oct. 9 registration deadline, then simply write your signature on the envelope for your Absentee Ballot as much like you used to as you can.
2. November 3 is a general election; it does not matter which political party—if any—you are registered with. In a general election, who you vote for is totally independent of what party you are registered with. Party registration only matters in primary elections, when a party is choosing which candidates to have run in the general election.
HOW TO REGISTER or RE-REGISTER TO VOTE (short version)
1. REGISTER IN PERSON at the Board of Elections, 128 E Buffalo St, Ithaca (downstairs from the county assessor's office) from 8:30 am to 5 pm.
a. Be sure to bring all the information needed.
b. To find out what information you need to bring with you, check the registration form online (link below) or call the Board of Elections at (607) 274-5522 t.
c. To save time at the Board of Elections, you can fill in the registration form at home.
You can read and/or print a copy of the registration form here:
2. REGISTER BY MAIL (be sure it is postmarked by Fri. Oct 9):
a. Download & print the voter registration form:
b. Fill it out very carefully. If you have questions, call the Board of Elections at (607) 274-5522.
c. Address it to:
Tompkins County Board of Elections
128 E Buffalo St, Ithaca NY 14850
d. Drop it off at a Post Office before they close FRIDAY, October 9.
—Some rural Post Offices close much earlier than the main Ithaca Post Offices.
—You can check Post Office hours here: https://tools.usps.com/find-location.htm
e. If you need to mail it from your home or via a blue USPS mail collection box, then mail it THURSDAY to be sure it is post-marked by Oct 9.
—Some blue collection boxes only have mail picked up in the morning or early afternoon, so putting it in a blue box on Friday after the mail is picked up will not work.