Vote Everywhere: CCAR answers your questions on voting


Erin Wilson, Contributor

The Center for Community Action and Research joined The Pace Press this week to answer some questions University students submitted about the 2020 Presidential election. Questions answered below include:

What are the deadlines for voting in NY for the 2020 Presidential election?
How can I vote?
How do I register to vote?
How do I request and return an absentee ballot?
Will the ballots have anything else on them aside for presidential candidates?
Can I do anything to help if I can’t vote myself?
How can I get voting updates so I never miss a deadline or election?

Q: What are the deadlines for voting in NY for the 2020 Presidential election?


  • Voter Registration: Oct. 9
  • Absentee Ballot (Request): Oct. 27
  • Absentee Ballot (Return): Nov. 2
  • Early Voting: October 24th – Nov. 1
  • Election Day: Nov. 3

If you are voting outside of NY state, you can go to to check the deadlines for your state.

Q: How can I vote?

A: The first step in voting is registering to vote! To register, go to It’s super easy and only takes about 5 minutes.

The next step in voting is deciding when and where you will vote. As a University student, you have a few options on how to vote in the upcoming election.

  1. Register to vote at your home address
    • Vote absentee. Request and return an absentee ballot by the appropriate deadlines. Deadlines differ by state, so make sure to check. To see the deadlines for your state and request an absentee ballot for any state, go to
    • Go home on Election Day or during early voting (if your state has it) and vote. Keep in mind that Election Day is a Tuesday and is not a University holiday, so you will have classes. Because of this, it’s most practical to vote absentee if you’re registered out of state or outside of the metro area. Think about what is practical for you personally and which way of voting will make you most likely to vote.
  2. Register at your on- or off-campus address at the University.
    • Vote in person on Election Day (Nov. 3) or during the early voting period (Oct. 24- Nov. 1). To find your polling place, go to!

Your early voting polling place will not be the same as your regular Election Day polling place, so make sure to double-check!

    • Vote by mail (indicate “temporary illness” as your reason if voting by mail due to COVID-19 concerns). Again, you can request an absentee ballot at!

Q: How do I register to vote?

A: In order to vote, you must first be registered. There are a couple of ways you can register to vote:

  1. Register online!
    • Go to to register to vote online in any state. In NY, you can register online if you have a NY driver’s license. If you do not, you have to mail in a physical voter registration form. Regulations on registering to vote vary by state. Make sure to check your state’s board of elections website for information.
  2. Fill out and mail a physical registration form
    • Go to to print a voter registration form for any state. You can also pick up a NY form outside the CCAR office in room Y31 (in One Pace Plaza between the East and West side on the 3rd floor).
    • Mail it to your board of elections. You can drop it off at a post box or post office or, if you don’t want to worry about mailing it or finding postage, you can drop it off at CCAR and we’ll mail it for you.
    • The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 9, so make sure to register online, postmark your registration or drop your form off at CCAR by that date.

Filling out the registration form is fairly simple. Here are some helpful tips to complete the registration form:

  1. Only use blue or black ink
  2. Use your full name (suffix means Jr. or Sr., not Ms. or Mrs, etc.) 
  3. Write the address in which you are registering. For example, if you’re registering at your dorm address, use that address.
  4. You can either put your NY Driver’s License number or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. If you don’t have either of those, check the last option, and you will just have to present an ID when you go to vote for the first time. If you are voting by mail, you should not use this option. See the top of the form for more forms of ID that you can send in with your registration application if you want to vote by mail.
  5. You do not have to pick a party, but if you want to vote in a primary, you must be registered with a party. This is not applicable for the presidential election. (Independence party is not registering as an independent. If you would like to register as an independent/with no party, check “no party.”)
  6. Sign and date
  7. Mail and you are all set! You can go to to check your registration status at any time.

Q: How do I request and return an absentee ballot?

A: Voting by mail is a great way to participate in our democracy while protecting yourself and others! Here is how you can do that:

  1. Visit to get the absentee ballot request form. As a college student, you have the option to vote at your home address or at your campus address. You can request a ballot from any state using this link
  2. If voting absentee in NY because of COVID concerns, indicate “temporary illness” on your request form
  3. Fill out the form either online (some states) or mail/email it to your board of elections. To mail a physical copy, you can either drop it at the post office, in a post box or drop off at CCAR in Y31 (3rd floor, between the East and West sides).
  4. Get the ballot in the mail, fill it out, and then mail it back. Absentee ballots do not require postage, however, it is great to support USPS by buying postage if you have the ability!

Make sure you keep track of deadlines for returning and requesting absentee ballots. In NY, the deadline to request a ballot is Oct. 27 and the deadline to return is Nov. 2. However, try to do this as early as possible due to potential delays with the U.S. Postal Service. The Portal Service has advised they cannot guarantee timely delivery of ballots applied for less than 15 days before an election.

Also, remember that absentee ballot processes and deadlines differ from state to state, so make sure to check your state’s deadlines and requirements at

Q: Will the ballots have anything else on them aside for the presidential candidates?
A: Yes! Ballots differ not only at a state level, but at a local level. If you are registered at a University dorm in NYC, the following races will be on the ballot in November: U.S. President, New York Congressional District 10, New York State Assembly District 65, New York Senate District 26 and New York State Supreme Court District 1.
If you are registered at another address, you can go to to check what’s on the ballot. 

Q: Can I do anything to help if I can’t vote myself?

A: Yes, of course! Even if you yourself can’t vote, you can encourage your friends and family to vote! CCAR has created a comprehensive “Get Out the Vote” social media toolkit that anyone can use. It includes premade graphics, captions, and email/text templates with the purpose of educating and encouraging voters! It also includes a list of frequently asked questions related to voting, a short video on how to vote and more!

Link to the social media toolkit:

Q: How can I get voting updates so I never miss a deadline or election?

  • Follow @CCARNYC and @pacevotes for up to date election information!
  • Text PACEVOTES to 56525 to get text message reminders about important voting deadlines and election dates!

If you have any questions related to voting, email [email protected] or DM us on Instagram @pacevotes.