New York Student Voting Guide

Registration Deadline

Voter Registration Deadline: 25 days before Election Day

Voter registration forms, polling place locations, and more information can be found at www.elections.ny.gov/

What Type of ID Do I Need to Register?

New York’s voter registration form asks for your New York driver’s license or ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. Failure to provide this information could lead to you having to show additional identification when you vote that shows your picture or your name and address. Make sure to provide this information on the registration form so the state can verify your identity and you don’t run into issues when you cast your ballot.

Register at School or Home?

Students have a choice about where to register to vote.

School address:

  • Students attending college in New York may register at their school address. You must plan to return after temporary absences, like summer break, but do not have to plan to reside at that address permanently.

Permanent address:

  • Students may choose to register or remain registered at a permanent address in New York or outside the state. In this case, students may need to vote by absentee ballot.

You may only be registered and vote in one location.

What Type of ID Do I Need to Vote?

Only two classes of New York voters have to show ID before voting: (1) first-time voters who registered by mail or registration drive whose driver’s license numbers or the last four digits of their Social Security numbers were not verified by the state; and (2) those who did not include a copy of an eligible ID with the mailed or registration drive application.

  • These voters will need to either submit a copy of one of the acceptable IDs in advance, show ID while voting in person, or mail a copy with their absentee ballot.
  • For those voters, acceptable ID includes a (i) current and valid photo identification such as a student ID, or (ii) current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the voter’s name and address

Where Do I Vote?

  • Contact your County Board of Elections to determine where to vote. You can find contact information for your county at http://www.elections.ny.gov/CountyBoards.html.
  • Voters must cast their ballots in the correct precinct. Sometimes there are multiple precincts in one polling place, so confirm your precinct ahead of time and get in the correct line!

How Can I Vote?

By Mail: Absentee Voting

  • Any voter may submit an absentee ballot if he or she is absent from his or her county or city of registration, unable to appear at a voting place because of illness or disability or because the voter is the primary care taker of a person with an illness or disability, an inmate or patient of a veteran’s administration hospital, or detained in jail or prison.
  • Absentee ballot applications must be postmarked at least seven days before the election or delivered in person by the day before the election.

On Election Day at the Polls The polls are open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Will voting in New York affect my federal financial aid?

Where you register to vote will not affect federal financial aid such as Pell Grants and Perkins or Stafford loans or your dependency status regarding FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). 

Does being an out-of-state student for tuition purposes affect my right to vote in my college community?

No. You may choose to vote in your college community or back home regardless of your tuition status.

Will I lose my scholarship if I register to vote in New York?

Generally, no. If you receive scholarship money from a state, county, town, or a private entity (i.e., an entity other than the federal government) you should confirm that residency in a particular place is not a requirement of the scholarship and/or that voter registration in New York will not affect your eligibility. 

Will registering to vote in New York affect my driver’s license or car registration?

Voting in New York may be considered evidence of your residency for purposes of the motor vehicle laws. New York residents have 30 days to register their vehicles and apply for a New York driver’s license. For more information, you may wish to contact the New York Department of Motor Vehicles.

Will registering to vote in New York prevent my parents from claiming me as a dependent on their taxes?

No. Students are often told that registering to vote in a different state from their parents will make them lose their dependency status. This is not true. Where you register to vote will have no effect on your parent’s tax status. 
This Guide was prepared by FELN staff who are not licensed to practice law in New York and FELN intends that the information contained herein is used only as a general guide. This document should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a licensed New York legal professional.

Last updated June 2016