7 Things You Need to Know to Vote

Posted by Conrad Taylor on September 24, 2019

The deadline to register to vote in New York State is very close, so make sure to register right after reading this blog. Voting is easy, simple and important, especially as a young person. The decisions and choices that are made by elected officials today will shape the communities of tomorrow. And the communities of tomorrow belong to us.

Here are seven things you need to know to vote as a Binghamton student:

You can register right here in Broome County

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You have the right to register to vote here in the Binghamton area, whether you live in your dorm room on campus or in an off-campus apartment. No matter what, making your voice heard locally has a major impact on the future of Binghamton. Do you care about creating a more walkable and culturally exciting downtown? Do you believe in electing people who support sustainable eco-friendly municipal programs? Do you care about the relationship between students and the greater Binghamton community? Register and vote to make an impact on these issues and so many more. 

You need to fill out a voter registration form

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If you live on campus, here’s a pre-filled voter registration form you need to download and complete. You can vote right on campus in the University Union! If you live off campus, here’s a blank voter registration form you need to download and fill out. You can vote at your designated polling location, which you can find easily on the New York State Board of Elections website. Keep in mind, if you’re registered on campus but have moved off campus, you need to re-register to vote at your new address! 

October 11 is your deadline

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Oct. 11 is the last day to postmark your voter registration form or deliver your registration form in person to the Board of Elections, located at the Broome County Office Building at 60 Hawley Street, on the second floor. You can also drop off your registration form at the Center for Civic Engagement in UU-137. 

You may need to switch parties ahead of the presidential primary

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Oct. 11 is the deadline to register to vote for the Nov. 5 election, but it is also the deadline to switch parties ahead of the New York State presidential primary. You can only vote in a party’s primary if you’re a member of that party. If you’re registered as an independent and want to vote in the Democratic primary, for example, you need to make that switch before Oct. 11! You can do so by re-registering to vote at your current address. If you don’t know your current political party, you can look it up on the New York State Board of Elections website. 

If you need an absentee ballot, request it

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If you prefer to vote back in your hometown and still have a residence there, you can do so, but you must request an absentee ballot if you can’t make it back home to vote. You can download the form from the New York State Board of Elections website. Your deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 29 and your deadline to send in your ballot is Nov. 4. 

Election Day is around the corner!

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Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5! Just head to your polling place and cast your ballot. If you haven't heard, there is also early voting for the first time this year! Between Oct. 26 and Nov. 3 you'll be able to visit one of Broome County's three early voting sites and vote. For times and locations for early voting, visit the Broome County Board of Elections website. 

There are lots more ways to get your questions answered

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There are lots of ways to get more information about registering to vote. Your questions are important! You can visit the Center for Civic Engagement in UU-137, visit the CCE online or you can call the Broome County Board of Elections at 607-778-2172.

Binghamton University has seen steady increases in student voting rates since institutional efforts to enhance student voter participation began in 2012. According to a recent report from the Institute of Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University, Binghamton's 2018 student voting rate increased 23.2 percentage points from 2014. Pretty cool!

Now go register to vote! It's easy. And remember to vote on Nov. 5!

Conrad Taylor is a 2018 graduate of Binghamton University and works in the Office of Media & Public Relations. 

Have questions, comments or concerns about the blog? Email us at social@binghamton.edu.