America's election season is in full swing this year, and there are tons of reasons to make sure you participate in the political process and cast your vote. You will have at least four opportunities to cast a vote in 2024 with two primary elections, at least one special election, and the general election in November. Your first opportunity to vote in New York State is here with the state's Presidential Primary.

Primary elections are an important part of the electoral process in America and, in many communities, are a key step in getting to the general election in November. While we still have several months of political ads and signs ahead of us, the field of candidates is going to be narrowed down starting this week.

What Is A Primary Election?

According to BallotPedia, which is a digital encyclopedia of American politics, a Primary Election is an election that is used to either narrow the field of candidates for a given elective office or to determine the nominees for political parties in advance of a general election.

In states like New York, which has a closed primary system, many people can request to be nominated to represent a political party (like Democrat or Republican) in an election. Members of that party vote during the primary to select their candidate for the general election in November.

To vote in a primary election in New York State, you have to be enrolled in a political party, and that party needs to have people looking to be nominated.

When Is The General Election This Year?

Election day in the United States is always on the Tuesday after the 2nd Monday in November and has been this way since 1845 when the 28th Congress amended the rules. This year's election is considered a midterm election and is scheduled for Tuesday, November 5th.

So What's So Important About This Election?

This election is extremely important on a national level as it's a Presidential election year. In November, we'll vote for a new president of the United States, and this primary will allow New Yorkers to select who will represent the Democratic or Republican party in the general election. This year, Donald Trump is running for the Republican nomination, and Joe Biden is running for the Democratic nomination.

What Do You Need To Know For Primary Election Day

  • Presidential Primary Election Day is Tuesday, April 2, 2024.
  • Voting polls and locations all across New York State open at 6 a.m. and will stay open until 9 p.m.
  • The voting polls will allow everyone who is in line to vote at 9 p.m. and they will remain fully staffed until everyone has cast their vote
  • If you don't think you will have enough time to vote on election day because of work, New York State Law requires your employer to give you up to 2 hours of paid time off if you do not have “sufficient time to vote.”
  • It's too late to request a mail-in ballot, but if you already have one, you can drop it off at any voting location. You can also drop it off at your local Board of Elections office.
  • When you go vote, you have to vote at the polling place assigned to you. Because of the 2020 US Census, your voting location may have changed. If you don’t know where that is, you can check the NYS Elections Voter Lookup Tool right here.
  • If you live in Erie or Niagara County, you can also check their local voter look-up tools here for Erie County and here for Niagara County. Other counties also may have a look-up tool, so you can check their websites.
  • New York does NOT require a Voter ID to vote. You can just give your name and you can sign the voter check-in book. However your ID might may you check in faster, but it is NOT a requirement.
  • If you run into any issues while voting, you can immediately reach out to the local Board of Elections. You can reach the Erie County BOE at 716-858-8891 and the Niagara County BOE at 716-438-4041 or 716-438-4040.
  • Also, the Office of the New York Attorney General would also like to hear about any issues you run into, you can find their Election Hotline Tool here.

We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.
–Thomas Jefferson

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