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General Election Guide

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November 2nd is Election Day. If you're not sure whether you're registered, don't know who represents you, and have no idea where to go to vote, fear not: We can help.

Up for grabs this election cycle are federal, state and local offices, including New York Senate and House seats, plus New York Governor, Attorney General, Comptroller, the state senate and assembly and other local races. For non-New Yorkers, we're covering federal and local elections in Connecticut and New Jersey, too. Here's what you need to know before going to the polls.

Are you registered to vote?

If you're not sure, check the status of your voter registration on the New York State Board of Elections website.

Learn about your representation

Who are your current elected officials? Use this map to find the officials now representing your congressional, senate and assembly districts in New York.

Where and when to vote and what to bring with you

Use this tool from the New York City Board of Elections to find your polling place if you are voting in New York City. Or just pop your address into this handy google map. This search, created by—a site launched by the League of Women Voters—covers the whole state.

In New York, polls open at 6 a.m. on Election Day and close at 9 p.m. Polls open at the same time in Connecticut and New Jersey, but they close an hour earlier, at 8 p.m.

If you registered to vote by mail and are voting for the first time, bring your current New York driver's license or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

If you don't have either of these sources of identification, you can bring a valid photo ID, a current utility bill, a bank statement, a government or paycheck or another government document that shows your name and address.

If you don’t have any ID or your name is not on the rolls at your polling site but you believe you are eligible to vote, you can still vote. Ask for an affidavit ballot, also known as a provisional ballot. You’ll need to swear that you are a registered voter and provide your current and previous addresses. 

After the election, the Board of Elections will check its records, and if you’re indeed eligible to vote and are at the correct poll site, your vote will be counted. If not, you will receive a notice that you are not eligible, along with a registration application for future elections.

What you can expect at the polling site

For starters, New York City has brand new voting machines! Lever machines are out and starting this year, all New Yorkers will be voting with paper ballots.

Vote NY also has videos that demonstrate how to vote on the new machines. It’s a simple three-step process: 1. Get a paper ballot from a poll worker. 2. Mark the ballot with a pen or request an accessible touch-screen machine. 3. Feed the marked ballot into the vote counting machine. If you have any question about the new voting machines, you can ask a poll worker for help.

Let Brian and Azi walk you through the ballot

And be wary, WNYC has found some other confusing errors on the ballot.

Who's running?

Here's the official certified list of candidates. But we've got lots more below on specific races we're watching.

Need to learn more about the candidates participating in this year's closest races? Check out these profiles from It's a Free Country and WNYC:

New York

Governor: Andrew Cuomo vs. Carl Paladino

Attorney General: Eric Schneiderman vs. Dan Donovan

Congressional District 1: Tim Bishop vs. Randy Altschuler

Congressional District 13: Michael McMahon vs. Michael Grimm

Congressional District 19: John Hall vs. Nan Hayworth

New Jersey

Let WNYC's Bob Hennelly walk you through the races that matter in NJ.


United States Senate: Richard Blumenthal vs. Linda McMahon

Governor: Dan Malloy vs. Tom Foley

Congressional District 4: Jim Himes vs. Dan Debicella

Need a little more help?

Newspaper endorsment guide

Brian Lehrer's 30 Issues in 30 Days series

Where They Stand: It's A Free Country researches candidate positions