General Voter Registration Requirements in New York State
Be a citizen of the United States
18 years of age by the date of the election
live at your present address for at least 30 days (not necessarily consecutive days) before the date of the election
not be adjudged mentally incompetent by a court
not be in prison or on parole for a felony conviction
Eligibility to Register to Vote as a Second Homeowner
A voter needs to be able to affirm that they have lived in the county, city or village for at least 30 days before the election. The 30-day period of residence need not be consecutive.
For second homeowners (dual residents), the New York State Court of Appeals has held that a person with two residences can choose to register to vote at either residence as long as that person has a “legitimate, significant and continuing attachment” to the residence chosen as the home from which he or she chooses to vote.
[Ferguson v. McNab, 1983]. The New York State Court of Appeals is the highest level of judicial authority in New York State, equivalent to the US Supreme Court at the National level. (The residence chosen need not be the residence of the greater attachment.) This is reflected in case law.
If you Will not be Present in Columbia County on Election day
You can vote by absentee ballot. Please see the discussion below with respect to the deadlines for requesting and submitting an absentee ballot.
If you Have a Rent Controlled or Rent Stabilized Apartment in NYC
The Rent and Eviction Regulations and the Rent Stabilization Law and Code provide that an apartment is not eligible for protection if the apartment is not occupied as “a primary residence.” If a tenant fails to occupy a rent controlled apartment as a primary residence, the landlord may terminate the tenancy upon 30 days’ notice. For a rent stabilized apartment, if the apartment is not occupied as a primary residence, the landlord can elect not to renew the lease term.
Whether an apartment is occupied as a primary residence is a question of fact, determined on the basis of all facts and circumstances. The fact that a tenant may register to vote at another location or may cite an address other than the apartment on a tax return is not determinative as to whether the apartment is “a primary residence”. The question is whether the tenant maintains “a substantial physical nexus with the apartment for actual living purposes.”
It should be recognized, however, that a landlord may cite an address outside NYC, used for voting purposes, as a factor in establishing whether the apartment is a primary residence.
Will a Person Become Subject to Jury Duty in Columbia County as a Result of Registering to Vote in Columbia County?
Jury duty is determined on the basis of a number of indicators of connection to the County. These include the driver’s license address, the address reflected on income tax filings, the property owner tax rolls and other factors. The address used for voting purposes may be considered in determining jury duty requirements. It is not determinative; you could be called in either county.
If you are called for jury duty in Columbia County, you will not be required to serve also in NYC. Jury duty served in one county is credited as jury duty served for all counties in the State.
Additional Resources online: votewhereitcounts.org, smartvoteny.com, and upstatevoter.com.