What Can You Do If You’re Not Allowed to Vote in New York?

vote in new york

If you’re told you can’t vote in the New York primary, here’s what to do. (Getty)

A big issue in the New York primary, and in many other states with closed primaries, is that voters’ registrations are being mysteriously purged, switched to inactive, or their party affiliations are being changed. In New York, you can only vote in the primary of the party with which you’re registered. If you have time, check your voter registration online before you leave and, if it’s right, take a screenshot as proof that you’re properly registered.

If you get to the polls and find out that you’re not eligible to vote, here’s what you can do.

Double Check Your Registration

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 24: Jerry Perisho, 73, left, takes a sticker printed in Spanish after casting his ballot during the Republican primary election April 24, 2012 at Northern Liberties Neighbors Association in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Turnout is expected to be low as Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney continues his campaign as the presumptive GOP candidate. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

Jerry Perisho, 73, left, takes a sticker printed in Spanish after casting his ballot during the Republican primary election in 2012. (Getty)

Sometimes, you may end up being placed in the wrong district. So before you ask for a court order or an affidavit ballot, ask to see the other district books. Search through them for your name. At least one person on Reddit did this and found that they were registered in a different district than they thought. They were able to cast a regular ballot.

Get a Court Order Today from a Judge Who’s On Call

Three polling managers wait for voters as a man casts his ballot in the Republican presidential primaries at Moultrie Middle School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, on February 20, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Three polling managers wait for voters as a man casts his ballot. (Getty)

New York knows there are going to be a lot of voters with a lot of problems. If you didn’t miss any deadlines or you were able to vote in the last primary and you’re still being told that you can’t vote, you can seek to get a court order to allow you to vote in the primary. This isn’t as difficult as you may think, because New York has a system set up for this process today.

Here’s what the court order request form looks like. You should be able to get one at your polling location:

The Board of Elections has judges on call in each of the boroughs to help with voters who aren’t allowed to vote. You’ll need to see a judge in your region. According to Gothamist, the list of available judges on call, and their hours, is:

The Bronx
Bronx County Board of Elections
1780 Grand Concourse
7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Kings County Board of Elections
345 Adams Street
Fourth Floor
7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Lower Manhattan
New York County Board of Elections
200 Varick Street
7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

State Office Building
163 West 125th Street
Eighth Floor
9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Queens County Board of Elections
126-06 Queens Boulevard
7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Staten Island
Richmond County Board of Elections
1 Edgewater Plaza
6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Gothamist recommends bringing documentation with you about your voter registration history, if you have it. You’ll state your case to the judge and if he rules in your favor, he will give you paperwork that you can take back to the poll site. This paperwork will allow you to vote.

People are already reporting success with the court orders helping them vote:


Cast a Provisional or Affidavit Ballot

Unfortunately, provisional ballots often aren’t counted. But a lawsuit in New York this morning is seeking to let Democrats who should be registered still have their provisional ballots counted. Many previously registered Democrat voters found their registrations were purged or their party affiliations were changed. This lawsuit is seeking to let them still vote. Unfortunately, the hearing has been rescheduled for a later date, so we won’t know how this one turns out for a while.

If you want to take a chance on the lawsuit working or on the provisional process, then ask for a provisional or affidavit ballot. You’ll explain your situation in writing and the election commissioners will determine if you were, indeed, eligible to vote after all. You’ll get a mailed notice if you were deemed ineligible. But, if you have time, go for the court order route first, as that would give you the ability to file a regular ballot.

Make sure you insist on getting the right ballot and stand your ground. Here’s just one story of someone who almost lost their right to vote, except they were persistent:

Report Your Problems

COLUMBIA, SC - FEBRUARY 20: A pile of "I Voted" stickers is seen at a polling station at Hand Middle School February 20, 2016 in Columbia, South Carolina. Residents of South Carolina picked their candidate in the state Republican primary today. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A pile of “I Voted” stickers is seen at a polling station. (Getty)

If you’re having problems, call the Attorney General’s hotline at (800) 771-7755.

You can also call the New York U.S. attorney’s office at (718) 254-6323 or (212) 637-0840. You can also report election law violations to the FBI at (212) 384-1000.]

You can also fill out this online form with Election Justice USA, who’s leading the lawsuit about voter registration in New York. To see stories of people’s experiences voting in the New York primary, please read:

For more information on voter fraud issues, please see:

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