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.green worded button for voting

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

Other News

The Student Parent and Childcare: Managing Children and College Activities, By Layla Abdullah-Poulos ’10, student, School for Graduate Studies

Free Session on SUNY Campuses to Help Prospective Students Narrow Search, By Susan Eve Tepper LeClair, recruitment specialist, Empire State Plaza Office

Safety and Security Releases Annual Statistics on Reported Crime, By Thomas Vumbaco, director, Campus Safety and Security

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.

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Article Contributors

Layla Abdullah-Poulos

David Henahan

Mary Morton

Jennifer Quaglio

Ian Reifowitz

Susan Eve Tepper LeClair

Thomas Vumbaco