What to know at the voting booth Tuesday

ALBANY (USA TODAY) – After months of punditry, millions of dollars spent by campaigns and intense scrutiny, voters will head to the polls Tuesday in New York to vote on federal, state and some local races.

In New York, the presidential race will headline the ballot with home-state candidates Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump at the top of their respective tickets.

Clinton, who polls show is a heavy favorite to win New York, actually has three lines on the New York ballot: Democratic, Working Families and Women’s Equality lines.

Trump, who has talked about pulling an upset in the state, has two lines: Republican and Conservative parties.

So too does Gary Johnson: Libertarian and Independence parties.

Jill Stein, meanwhile, is the Green Party candidate.

So there’s four candidates on eight ballot lines in New York, which is one of a few states that allows for so-called fusion voting – when candidates’ vote tally on all their lines count toward their overall total.

Here’s what you need to know about voting in Tuesday’s elections in New York:

What’s on the ballot?

When you head to the polls, you will have the opportunity to vote for more than just president.

Elections are being held for U.S. Senate between Democrat incumbent Charles Schumer and Republican Wendy Long, 27 congressional races and all 213 seats in the state Legislature.

In the U.S. Senate race, there are also two third-party candidates: Alex Merced on the Libertarian line and Robin Laverne Wilson on the Green line.

Democrats hold 18 of the 27 U.S. House seats, and some competitive races on Long Island, the Hudson Valley and central New York have drawn national interest as the parties vie for control of Congress.

At the state Capitol, the focus is on who will rule the state Senate, the narrowly divided 63-seat chamber.

Republicans have a one-seat majority going into Election Day, and swing races on Long Island and the Hudson Valley are viewed as critical in determining Senate control when the Legislature returns to Albany in January.

There’s also a five-member Independent Democratic Conference that will influence party power next year in the Senate. Democrats hold a 105-43 seat majority with two vacancies in the state Assembly.

Also, some regions of the state have judicial contests and local races – such as for Broome County executive, Westchester County district attorney and Monroe County clerk.

Where do I vote?

Your county Board of Elections usually sends you a postcard reminding you of your polling place.

Otherwise, the state Board of Elections has an online Voter Registration Search here: https://voterlookup.elections.state.ny.us/votersearch.aspx.

You can also call your county board to check your polling place and make sure you’re registered.

Remember: New York doesn’t have same-day voter registration. That means you needed to register by last month to vote on Tuesday.

What if I can’t get to the polls?

You can vote by absentee ballot, but there are deadlines.

Monday is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot in person, and Monday is the last day to postmark an absentee ballot by mail. It has to be received by Nov. 15.

On Election Day, though, you can hand deliver your absentee ballot to your county elections board.

The forms are available at the board offices or can be downloaded on the state Board of Elections site here: https://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingAbsentee.html

What should I expect at the polls?

Each polling place typically has a sample ballot you can review before you get handed your own one.

If you’re new to voting – and New York added 747,685 new voters since April – you should know that New York went to a paper balloting system several years ago, replacing the old-lever machines that served the state well for decades.

In any event, if you’re not listed as a registered voter at the polling place, but believe you are registered, you can fill out an affidavit ballot.

“You should also ask the poll worker for advice about following up on your status,” the state League of Women Voters says on its voter guide.

“After validation by your county board of elections, your affidavit ballot will be counted. If you determine that you are in the wrong polling place, go to the correct one to vote.”

The league also encouraged voters, particularly first-time voters, to bring identification.

And if you run into any trouble at the polls, the state Attorney General’s Office has a hotline: 800-771-7755 or email civil.rights@ag.ny.gov on Tuesday between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.


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