Empire State College Community Encouraged to Register to Vote in Time for November Elections
By Ian Reifowitz, mentor, Long Island Center
October 14, 2014
Empire State College students, alumni, faculty and staff span the country - and the world. Their influence as a group is potentially substantial and registering to vote is important.
Professor Jim Robinson, who teaches political science, recounts his experience registering African-Americans in the south just after the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965. Before this law’s passage, segregation meant that black southerners were denied their constitutional rights through intimidation and, all too often, brutal violence, he says:
“In 1965, I was a sophomore at NC State in Raleigh, N.C. I was asked to participate in a voting registration drive. Four or five of us from the college went together one night to an African-American neighborhood, where we knocked on doors asking people to register. I was surprised when many people would not let us in the door. Those who did quickly registered and asked us to leave. I asked a black friend who was with me what was going on. He looked at me with astonishment. ‘They're afraid,’ he said simply.
“The memory of that night has never gone away. The people we registered knew that voting might not change things, but they went to the polls anyway, and at great personal risk. Since that time, voting for me has been a privilege. I have always registered, and I have voted.
“We are living in a period of discouragement. We are confronted daily with news of discrimination, corruption and violations of individual rights. Many people do not register and many more do not vote. What this means, of course, is that a very small number of people can sway an election, one way or the other. Those who do not vote increase the power of those who do. They abandon their right to make a difference.
“Voting is not a chore, and it is not a luxury. It is the right to make a difference. And, to exercise that right, registering is the first step.”
Obtain voter registration materials directly:
National Board of Elections:http://www.eac.gov/voter_resources/register_to_vote.aspx
NYS Board of Elections: http://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingRegister.html
General Election Deadlines and Voting Calendar
The National Board of Elections website lists rules, which vary from state to state, concerning cutoff dates for registration and address changes at http://www.eac.gov/voter_resources/election_calendar.aspx
New York Deadlines
Mail registration (N.Y. Election Law Section 5-210(3))
Applications must be postmarked no later than Oct. 10 and received by a board of elections no later than Oct. 15 to be eligible to vote in the general election.
In-person registration (N.Y. Election Law Sections 5-210, 5-211, 5-212)
Register is available at local boards of elections or any state agency participating in the National Voter Registration Act on any business day throughout the year but, to be eligible to vote in the November general election, applications must be received no later than Oct. 10except for those who have been honorably discharged from the military or have become a naturalized citizen since Oct. 10, who may register in person at the board of elections up until Oct. 24.
Change of address (N.Y. Election Law Section 5-208(3))
Notices of change of address from registered voters received by Oct. 15 by a county board of elections must be processed and entered in the records in time for the general election.
For more information go to http://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingDeadlines.html
Did You Know
Remember that your voice counts. Not registered to vote? There's still time. You can register in person at the board of elections until Oct. 24.