Voter’s Bill Of Rights

People-Powered Politics: TEMPO 802

Volume CI, No. 9September, 2001

Here is a list of your rights as a voter, compiled by the Citywide Coalition for Voter Participation, of which Local 802 is a member. Each of these rights is outlined in the manual that Board of Elections workers have at the polls (although the actual page number may vary, based on which edition of the manual is being used at your voting place). Knowing your voting rights can help ensure that your voice is heard in this year’s elections. Take this list with you when you go to vote in the primary on Sept. 11 and the general election on Nov. 6.

Can I bring someone with me to help me vote?

YES. You have the right to have anyone you choose assist you to cast your vote inside the voting booth, as long as it’s not your union representative or employer. You can also ask for a pair of poll workers – a Democrat and a Republican – to assist you in the booth. (See poll worker manual page 17.)

Can I vote if my name isn’t on the voter list?

YES. If you are “not in the book,” make sure that the poll workers double check that you are at the right table/site. If your name is not on the list, you have the right to vote by a paper “affidavit ballot.” You will be asked to sign an oath saying you are registered, mark a paper ballot and seal it in an envelope. Elections officials will later check their computer records to see whether you are registered. If you are, your vote will be cast. If not, you will receive a notice. If you have questions, ask the poll worker for a “voting rights” flyer; they are required to have one. The flyer will also tell you about your right to get an order to vote on a machine. (See pages 25-26.)

Do I need any ID?

NO. You do not have to show any identification to vote. The voter ID card you may have received in the mail is intended to help you locate your polling site, but it is not required to vote. As a voter, you will have to sign your name in the poll site book. (See page 12.)

What if the machine is broken? Can I still vote?

YES. You have the right to vote by a paper “emergency ballot.” Make sure you fill in the circle for your candidate completely. It should be returned to the poll workers, who should put it in a special box. It will be opened and counted that night just as if it were on the machine. You can also decide to come back later and see if the machine has been repaired. (See page 35.)

I recently moved within New York City, but didn’t re-register. Can I vote?

YES. If you registered at an old address, but have moved to another address within the city, you can vote without having to re-register. Go to the polling site for your new address. Your name won’t be in the poll book but you can ask to vote on a paper “affidavit ballot.” If you have questions, ask the poll worker for a voting rights flyer. If you moved within the same election district, you can vote on the machine. (See pages 25-26 & 29.)

What if I need a translator?

Many polling sites are required to have ballots, poll site materials and translators fluent in Spanish and/or Chinese. If you think your site doesn’t have required language assistance, call (866) VOTE-NYC (See page 17.)


  • You are entitled to vote as long as you are in line by 9 p.m. (See page 39.)
  • Each voter has three minutes to cast his or her vote on the machine. (See page 21.)
  • You may take any information in to the polls with you, including the non-partisan red, white and blue Voter Guide you should receive in the mail shortly before Election Day. But you can’t solicit votes for a candidate or issue on the ballot or electioneer within 100 feet of the poll site entrance. (See page V.)
  • Most polling places are accessible to people with disabilities. If yours is not, you may ask to have your records transferred to a nearby accessible polling place. You may also vote by absentee ballot.
  • All poll watchers are required to wear an ID badge with their name. (See page 8.)

Having problems? Call our voter helpline about your problem at (212) 349-6460. You can also try the Board of Elections at (866) VOTE-NYC.

This listing was compiled by the Citywide Coalition for Voter Registration, c/o NYPIRG, 9 Murray Street, NYC 10007; (212) 349-6460; fax: (212) 349-1366;, and c/o Common Cause/NY, 39 West 32nd Street, Suite 1601, NYC 10001; (212) 564-4582, fax: (212) 564-4582.