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Voting Rights

In 1984, Coalition for the Homeless filed the lawsuit Pitts v. Black, which guaranteed the right to vote for homeless New Yorkers living in shelters, on the street, or in welfare hotels.

What do I need when I go to vote?

Nothing. Arrive at your poll site on election day. As long as you registered to vote before that year’s deadline, you do not need to show identification in order to vote. Ideally, you should vote in the district where you registered or previously voted. However, you can instead vote in the district where you now live by using an affidavit or paper ballot. Voters can also participate in early voting, but the poll site for early voting may be different. For more information about your poll site, contact the NYC Board of Elections at 1-866-VOTE-NYC.

What should I do when I enter the poll site?

At the poll site, you will see tables and voting machines set up for your election district and others. At the table for your district, you will be asked to sign next to a facsimile of your signature on an alphabetized, computerized polling list. If your name does not appear on the roster, ask for an affidavit or paper ballot.

Can I vote if I have committed a felony or am currently on parole?

  • If you have committed a felony and have finished your sentence: Your rights have been reinstated and you are eligible to register and vote in this year’s election.
  • If you are currently on parole: Some people on parole can vote, some cannot. If you are unsure, you can check your status online at voting.nyc. Even if you are currently not able to vote, you will regain your right to vote at the end of your parole period, and you may register and vote at that time.

What if I have trouble trying to vote?

If your name does not appear on the computerized polling list or you are told that you are not eligible to vote, ask for an affidavit or paper ballot. After each election, the Board of Elections will check its records, and your vote will be counted if you are indeed eligible to vote. If not, you will receive a notice that you are not eligible, along with a registration application for future elections. You may also call one of the numbers listed below for assistance on the day of the election.

For more information or assistance, contact:

NYC Board of Elections: 1-866-VOTE-NYC (toll-free)
NYPIRG: 212-349-6460 x1166
Coalition for the Homeless: 212-776-2003