Frequently Asked Questions
To register to vote, you must:
Although you can register any time during the year, your form must be delivered or mailed at least 25 days before the next election for it to be effective for that election.
HOW DO I REGISTER?
You can obtain a mail registration form (either in English or Espanol) by calling
1-800-FOR-VOTE or D.C. Board of Elections at (845) 486 - 2473. Forms
are also available at most government offices, post offices and
libraries. Complete the form and mail it to Dutchess County Board
of Elections. You may also register in person at 47 Cannon Street
Poughkeepsie or print out an PDF
You need to re-register to vote if:
· you move out of the county
· change your name
· change your party enrollment
If you move within your county call your County Board of Elections for specific instructions.
HOW CAN I VOTE IN PRIMARY ELECTIONS?
You must be enrolled in one of the five recognized parties (i.e., Republican, Democrat, Independence, Conservative, or Working Families) and there must be a primary in the party in which you are enrolled.
HOW DO I INDICATE MY CHOICE OF A PARTY?
You use the same form as you do for registering to vote. In Section 13, indicate which party you would like to enroll in. NOTE: If you are already registered and are filing a change of enrollment, the change will not take effect until after the next November general election.
WHERE DO I VOTE?
Each year, 65 to 75 days before the general election, you should receive a postcard from the Board of Elections verifying your current address. This card also indicates the location of your polling place and whether or not this place is accessible to the handicapped. If you have any questions about the information provided, call your County Board of Elections.
CAN I OBTAIN SPECIAL HELP AT THE POLLS IF I NEED IT?
Yes. A voter may have the assistance of anyone of their choice, so long as the person providing the assistance is not the voter's employer or union agent. If the voter requests assistance from inspectors at the polling place, one from each of the two parties represented there will help.
CAN I TAKE TIME OFF FROM WORK TO VOTE?
Yes. New York State law allows a voter up to two hours with pay to leave work and vote. More information is here.
If you ask, an inspector will show you on the sample ballot displayed in your polling place, how to cast a write-in vote. Be aware, however, that once you open the write-in slot, all levers in that office column are locked and you will not be able to vote for a name on the machine except when there is more than one person to be elected for that office. You may then vote both by write-in and lever ballot. If you write in the name of someone already appearing on the machine, your vote for that person will not be counted.
Your vote is protected through a system of mechanical and administrative safeguards. For example, the back of the voting machine can only be opened at the beginning of the election, before any votes are cast, and at the close of voting. When the machine is opened, only totals show and election officials cannot tell who voted for which candidate.
The number assigned to each voter by the inspectors in no way reveals for whom you voted. This makes it possible to keep an exact record of the number of votes cast on the machine and to pinpoint any problems that may occur on the machine.
If you will be absent from your county on election day because of your occupation, business, vacation or studies, you can request an absentee ballot application and vote by absentee ballot in any primary, special or general election. The application may be obtained from any Board of Elections. Just call, write or apply in person as soon as you know that you will be out of your county. If you are calling or applying by mail, you must do so at least seven days before the election. If you are applying in person, you may do so up to and including the day before the election.
Voters with special needs or disabilities have the option of using the ImageCast Ballot markers. Once marked, the ballot will be printed and then scanned via the ImageCast Ballot Scanner.
If you are unable to vote in person because of illness or physical disability, you may vote by absentee ballot. Normally, applications for absentee ballots must be mailed to the Board of Elections not later than seven days before the election.
However, if you become ill or disabled within ten days of the election, you may submit the application up to and including the day before the election. Persons who are permanently ill or disabled may receive absentee ballots for all future elections by filing only one application indicating your illness or disability. You will then be sent an absentee ballot for every primary, special and general election for which you qualify as a voter.