Key registration deadline for first-time voters in NY

New York’s Byzantine election laws make it difficult to vote here. One relevant example: It’s too late to switch your party registration if you hope to vote in a different primary in 2018, including federal primaries in June and state primaries in September, when candidates for governor and the State Legislature will compete.

The deadline to make that switch was Oct. 13, 2017. Did you miss it? Sorry.

Other examples of meshugas: There is no early voting or automatic voter registration in New York State. These are the kinds of egregious state decisions that protect incumbents and political leaders and diminish your voice.

Don’t let that stop you. Or at least some of you. If you’re registering for the first time in New York, act now. There’s a June 1 deadline for new voters to register in time for the June 26 federal primary. Register by June 1 and you’ll also be eligible to vote in the Sept. 13 state primary and the Nov. 6 general election.

These are important contests. The 2018 midterm congressional elections will determine the nation’s direction for two years, and there are compelling primaries in NYC. In Brooklyn and Staten Island, a big Democratic field is vying to unseat Republican Rep. Dan Donovan. On the Republican side, Michael Grimm, a felon who once held that seat, is coming for Donovan. In Queens and the Bronx, young challenger Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is looking to topple powerful Democrat Rep. Joseph Crowley.

There are more. And that’s just in June.

In state primaries in September, incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo may face Cynthia Nixon, if she petitions her way onto the Democratic ballot. (Remember, this is all designed to be confusing.) That primary is when you also can pick your party’s other state-level candidates, and control of the State Senate hangs in the balance. The last chance for new voters to register for that primary is in August.

You can find information about elections and where to vote at voting.nyc. There are around a million people in NYC eligible to register who haven’t, according to the city Campaign Finance Board. If you’re one of them, register now and get ready to vote. Go for it. It’s your duty.