A new law passed in 2021, restores the right to vote for a person convicted of a felony upon release from incarceration, regardless of if they are on parole or have a term of post-release supervision. If a convicted felon is not incarcerated, they are eligible to register to vote.
To qualify for voter registration in New York State, you must:
- be 18 years old (you may pre-register at 16 or 17 but cannot vote until you are 18);
- be a resident of this state and the county, city or village for at least 30 days before the election;
- not be in prison for a felony conviction;
- not be adjudged mentally incompetent by a court;
- not claim the right to vote elsewhere
If you are unsure if you are already registered to vote, you can check your registration status here.
Registering at the Time of Your Release
The following registration options should be made available to you at the time of your release from a correctional facility:
- You should be offered the opportunity to register to vote at the time of your release
- You should be offered assistance to fill out the voter registration form at that time
- You may decline to register to vote at that time
- If you decline to register to vote at that time you should be given a voter registration form to take with you
Registering After Your Release
New York State offers many ways to register to vote. You can register to vote online, in person at your county board of elections, at any NVRA designated state agency, or by mail.
Visit the NYSBOE Voter Registration page for more information on how and where to register.
In New York State any citizen convicted of a felony will have their right to vote restored after release from prison. The individual must re-register to vote in order for their voting ability to be fully restored. Here are some common questions people may have about their voting rights after release:
Can a person with a felony register to vote in New York State?
If you are a US citizen, New York State resident, and you are not currently in prison for a felony conviction, you may register to vote in New York State.
What if I am on parole, probation, or supervised release?
New Yorkers who are on parole, probation, or other supervised release may register to vote.
What if I am awaiting my trial or sentencing?
If you are in jail awaiting trail for a felony conviction you may register to vote. If you are sentenced to prison for the felony conviction, you will lose your right to vote once you are incarcerated.
What if I am in jail but for a misdemeanor?
If you are in jail for a misdemeanor or violation conviction you are still eligible to register to vote and vote.
What if I had a felony in another state but now live in New York, can I register?
Even if you have a prior felony conviction in another state, as long as you are a citizen, resident of New York State, and not in prison for a felony conviction, you are eligible to register and vote in New York.
What happens after I am released from prison for my felony?
After your release you will be offered the opportunity to register to vote at the time of your release. You should be offered assistance to fill out the voter registration form at that time. You may decline to register to vote at that time. If you decline to register to vote at that time you should be given a voter registration form to take with you.
How do I register to vote?
To register to vote you must fill out a New York State Voter Registration Form. You should have been provided a copy of this form at the facility when your release was processed. This form is available on the NYS Board of Elections website (www.elections.ny.gov) or any county board of elections website, you can also find forms at any U.S. Post Office or public library. If you do not have access to the internet, printer or simply prefer, you may request that a New York State Voter Registration form be mailed to you by contacting the New York State Board of Elections or the Board of Elections in your county of residence Once the voter registration form is completed, you need to print the form (if filled out online) and sign it. Then you must mail or deliver the form to your county board of elections. There is a listing of every county board of elections on the back of the registration form and on the NYS Board of Elections website.
What if I don’t have a permanent address?
If you are unsure of your new address, you may take your registration form with you and complete it after you have determined your new place of residence. You may also use a temporary address, such as a halfway house, for your address, provided you have resided there at least thirty days before the election.
I have a place where I will live permanently but I’m currently staying somewhere else temporarily, can I still vote?
You can register at your temporary address or continue to stay registered at your permanent address and vote via absentee ballot. Even if your temporary location is a halfway house, or other post-release facility, you will be eligible to vote from this address as long as you have resided there at least thirty days before an election. You may also choose to stay registered at your permanent address and vote via absentee ballot while you are temporarily away.
How soon before an election do I have to register to vote?
A voter registration form must be received by the voter’s County Board of Elections 10 days before the election you wish to participate in.
If I change address within New York State after registering to vote but I forget to update my address with a board of elections, can I still vote?
Yes. If you have lived at your new address for at least thirty days before election day, you can vote at the polling places for your new residence (which you can determine by calling the board of elections).
At your polling place on election day, election workers will provide you with instructions for voting an “affidavit ballot” which will update and transfer your voter record and allow your vote to be counted if you are eligible.
How will I know that my registration was received and processed?
Once your voter registration form is received and processed you will receive a notice at the address provided on your voter registration form informing you when the next election will be and where your poll site will be. New York State also offers early voting and absentee voting as alternatives to voting on election day.