Register to Vote
Register to Vote
To verify whether you are registered to vote and that your voter record is correct, check your status on the National Association of Secretaries of State website well in advance of your state’s voter registration deadline.
If you’re not registered or need to make changes to your registration:
Where Do You Want to Register?
You can only vote in one place, so you need to decide in which state you want to vote. Students who go to school in their home state have an easy decision, but out-of-state students need to figure out if they way to register back home (using their permanent address) or where they go to school (using their university address). This isn’t an easy choice to make and every student’s situation is different. Talk to your parents/guardians and learn about any potential barriers or requirements in your home state or New York by using the Campus Vote Project State Guidelines.
Other things to consider:
- Local Issues: Consider if you want to participate in local elections (e.g. mayor, town supervisor, school board, local ballot initiatives, etc.). If so, do you want to participate at the local level here in Henrietta or back home? Whatever your choice, register there!
- Swing State/Battleground State Status: Perhaps your home state is considered a swing or battleground state in national elections? In this case, you want to register and vote back home using your permanent address.
- Ease of Absentee-Voting: Perhaps getting an absentee ballot for your home state requires extra work. In this case, you might want to forego that extra work and register and vote locally using your university address.
- Post-Graduation Plans: Perhaps you’re planning on moving back home after graduation? In this case, registering and voting back home would allow you to see the long-term impact of your votes in local elections.
Check Deadlines and Eligibility
Each state has different voter registration deadlines and eligibility requirements. Give yourself time to check out these requirements before registering.
Decide on a Party Affiliation
When registering to vote, you can select a political party affiliation. You can choose not to affiliate with any of the major political parties but it may prevent you from being able to participate in caucuses and primary elections. Closed primaries, for instance, are generally reserved for members of the Democratic and Republican parties to determine the candidate that will represent each group in the general election. New York is a closed primary state.
Register to Vote
RIT students are encouraged to use TurboVote which:
- Helps you register to vote either online or by paper
- Helps you remember upcoming elections by sending email and/or text reminders
- Helps you vote by mail via absentee ballot request forms
Register to Vote using TurboVote
Tips for Navigating TurboVote:
- Where do you want to register to vote?
You will need to decide whether you will choose to vote back home (using your permanent address) or locally (using your university address).
If you choose to vote locally, you must use both a physical street address AND a mailing address. For students living on-campus, your physical street address can be found under Select a Residence Hall address on the TurboVote page. You can also visit RIT"s post office website to see the proper address formats.
- Where do you receive mail?
On this page, you can enter your RIT mailing address (see above) or off-campus apartment address to have all voting related forms and ballots sent to your university address. It is important to have your voting-related information sent here so that you don’t miss important deadlines. If all your materials are sent back home and your parents/guardians do not send it to you in time, you might miss the deadline for mailing your absentee ballot.
- Stamps and Envelopes?
If you need a stamp to mail your registration form, stop by the RIT Post Office located in the Global Village to purchase one. Alternatively, you can stop by the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement located in the Campus Center (A-610) to get one for free.
Once you have your stamp, it is time to address your envelope. It is important to do this correctly. Here is an example of how to address your envelope.
Students who register to vote back home and cannot make it back to vote in person will need to request an absentee ballot in order to vote. Some states allow mail-in-voting without requiring a reason while others will need proof that you are unable to make it to a local polling station.
There are typically two steps involved in order to vote absentee (once you are already registered).
Step 1Complete and mail an absentee ballot request form. Students are encouraged to use TurboVote to complete the request form.
Step 2Keep an eye on your mailbox. If approved, your home state will send you an absentee ballot in the mail before Election Day. Complete it and mail it back by the deadline listed on the ballot.
If you need a stamp to mail your absentee ballot request form OR your actual ballot, stop by the RIT Post Office located in the Global Village to purchase one. Alternatively, you can stop by the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement located in the Campus Center (A-610) to get one for free.
Once you have your stamp, it is time to address your envelope. It is important to do this correctly. Here is an example about how to address your envelop.
Students who live on campus and register to vote locally using their university address will vote at our new on-campus polling site located in the Gene Polisseni Center. Note: In 2019, NY state instituted 9 days of early voting. Check your county’s website to find out early voting locations and hours.
Please note: Students who live in the Province apartment building will vote at the Henrietta Recreation Center.