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Love a primary election? Deadline to change your party affiliation is Feb. 14

New York state voters who want to participate in the upcoming midterm primary elections can write a love letter to democracy in the form of changing their party affiliation.

Voters have until Valentine’s Day, Monday, Feb. 14th, to change their party status. Those who want to update it online have until Friday, Feb. 11th.

Those deadlines are for currently registered voters to either switch to a different party, or move from being registered as a so-called “blank” or non-affiliated voter, to being a party member.

New York State runs a closed primary system so participation is limited to voters who are registered members of a political party, which more often than not means registering as a Republican or Democrat. By joining a party, a registered New York voter can secure access to the June primary elections.

New Yorkers can also register as a member of a third party, but only registered party members can vote in their party’s respective primary. For example, if one joined the Working Families or Conservative parties, they would still not be able to vote in the Democratic or Republican primaries.

The primary election this year will be held on June 28th, preceded by nine days of early voting from June 18th through June 26th. Federal and state contests will be on the ballot this year, beginning with the primary contests. There are already early rumblings about competitive congressional and state legislative primaries across the region thanks to newly drawn district maps.

For now, here’s the information on how New Yorkers can update their voter registration to participate in the upcoming primary elections.

Who does this deadline apply to?

If you are already registered to vote, but you want to change or join a political party. Check your voter registration status here.

Can I fill the form out online?

Currently, the only way to update your voter registration information online is through the state Department of Motor Vehicles website. That system transfers information gathered on its website to your local Board of Elections office (BOE), so it has set an earlier deadline for any changes to voter registration information. That deadline is Friday, Feb. 11th.

To update your voter registration information online, you need to have the following information: a New York State DMV issued driver license, permit or non-driver ID; the ZIP code on file with the DMV and the last four digits of your Social Security number.

Wait, isn’t the deadline to update this information Feb. 14th?

Yes, but the information needs to be received by the BOE by that date. You can also print out a voter registration form and drop it off at a local BOE office by close of business on Monday. Any voter registration forms received after won’t take effect until after the June primary.

What if I am not registered to vote at all yet?

This deadline is only to change party affiliation. People who are not registered to vote can register up until June 3rd if they want to participate in the primary election.

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