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Your questions about New York’s Aug. 23 primary elections answered

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M. Spencer Green
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AP

New Yorkers on Tuesday, Aug. 23 will participate in their second primary election of the year, with key races for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the state Senate. If you’re looking to head to the polls, we have the basics covered below.

Am I eligible to vote in the primary?

New York’s primaries are closed, meaning only voters registered with the Democratic or Republican parties can vote in each party’s primary. You’ll need to be registered to vote in New York and a member of one of these two parties, and you may only vote in your party’s primaries.

When and where can I vote?

Primary Day is Tuesday, Aug. 23. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and you can find your local polling place here. You will still be allowed to vote after these hours if you are in line at a polling place by 9 p.m.

Can I vote early?

The in-person early voting period has already begun, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 21. Unlike on Election Day, you are free to pick from a variety of early voting poll sites, which you can see here. This makes early voting a more accessible option if you are far from your registered address. Hours may vary by the polling site and the day you choose to vote.

If I’m not registered to vote, can I still register in time for the primary?

No. To register in time for this primary, you needed to have done so in-person by July 29 or, if by mail, postmarked by July 29 and received by Aug. 3. Similarly, change of address forms must have been received by Aug. 3 to affect your voter information by Primary Day.

Can I change parties to vote in the other party’s primary?

Although you may have heard that this was possible, it is no longer the case. Originally, a loophole created by the addition of the August primary would have allowed voters to change party affiliation up until Primary Day. In the runup to the election, however, a state Supreme Court instituted a deadline of Aug. 11 to effectively change voters’ party affiliations in time for the primary — a move intended to stop voters from “raiding” opposing parties’ primaries.

Who’s on the ballot?

When New York’s highest court struck down redistricting plans in April, the state’s 2022 primary races were divided into two elections — on June 28 and on Aug. 23 — to give officials time to create new legislative district maps. This election’s races are specifically for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and New York’s state Senate, both of which have changes in the new maps. Due to the reformulation of districts, some races include multiple incumbents whose districts have merged, while others feature entirely new candidates.

This primary also includes two special elections for congressional districts in which representatives have stepped down before the end of their terms. Candidates elected in these races will serve until early January, when they will be replaced by the winners of the general election in November.

Long Island’s federal primaries include Republican races in district 1, the seat Rep. Lee Zeldin will vacate in his run for governor, and district 2. Long Island Democrats have federal primaries in districts 4, 7 and 8. In the 10th district, incumbent Democratic Rep. Mondiare Jones is facing 12 challengers, including former Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has unofficially dropped out of the race. In the 12th, incumbent Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney are both competing for the Democratic nomination in newly merged territory.

The table below contains all primary contests, including local, district-specific races. Be sure to use Ballotpedia’s lookup tool to see the races that will be on your ballot.

Can I vote via an absentee ballot?

According to New York’s Board of Elections, you can apply to vote absentee if:

  • You are absent from your county or, if a resident of New York City, absent from the five boroughs, on Election Day
  • You are unable to appear at the polls due to temporary or permanent illness or disability (temporary illness includes being unable to appear due to risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease like COVID-19)
  • You are unable to appear because you are the primary caregiver of someone who is ill or physically disabled
  • You are a resident or patient of a Veterans Health Administration Hospital
  • You are in jail or prison for any reason other than a felony conviction (this includes anyone who is awaiting grand jury action, awaiting trial, or serving a sentence for a misdemeanor)

If you haven’t already applied for an absentee ballot and wish to, you will need to pick one up in person at your local county board of elections by Monday, Aug. 22, as the date to apply online or by mail has passed. You will be able to mail in your absentee ballot or deliver it to a polling site until polls close at 9 p.m. on Aug. 23. You can also track the status of your ballot here.

If you have already applied for an absentee ballot and wish to vote in-person instead, you must fill out an affidavit ballot, which will only be counted once election officials determine you have not sent in your absentee ballot.

Do I need an ID to vote?

Unless this is your first time voting in a federal election, you do not need to present an ID when checking in at your polling place. If this is your first federal election and you didn’t provide identification (your driver’s license or state ID number, the last four digits of your social security number, or an application for a state-assigned number) when you registered to vote, you will need a photo ID or an identifying document like a copy of a utility bill or a bank statement. If you don’t bring identification, you can still fill out an affidavit ballot.

What do I do if my voting rights are challenged at the polls?

If your right to vote is questioned at a polling site, you are permitted to take challenge and qualification oaths to affirm your eligibility to vote. You also have the right to fill out a provisional ballot if you are challenged by election officials, which will be counted once your eligibility is reviewed.

If you believe your rights are being violated at a polling place, you can contact New York’s election protection hotline at 866-390-2992, election.hotline@ag.ny.gov, or via this online form.

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Josh is a freelance reporter working with WSHU to produce explanatory journalism. He also designed graphics for WSHU's Higher Ground podcast. You can find his work at The Stony Brook Press, where he served as executive editor.