Today is National Voter Registration Day — an important reminder to be sure you are prepared to vote in this year’s election. You can find links to voter registration forms and also information about different ways to cast your ballot safely, with deadlines for each, by visiting newrochelleny.com/elections. You can also visit vote411.org for helpful, non-partisan tips from the League of Women Voters. The last day to register is October 9, so don’t delay.
This article from Ron Brownstein points out an important and disturbing fact. If Republicans succeed this year in seating a new Justice to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, then a majority of the Supreme Court will have been nominated by Presidents who lost the popular vote and confirmed by Senators representing less than half the country. Decades of Supreme Court decisions — not to mention countless other laws and executive actions — will flow from the flawed, deeply undemocratic nature of the U.S. Senate and the Electoral College, which now routinely permit the few to rule over the many.
That’s not how things are supposed to work. Democratic institutions are supposed to provide for the orderly conversion of majority will into public policy, while also protecting minority rights. The stability and success of democracy depends on all sides perceiving this process as just; the winners demonstrating restraint in the knowledge that power is impermanent, the losers accepting government action as legitimate, even when they disagree with the specifics.
By contrast, America is suffering today from something like a national auto-immune disorder, with the core principle of majority rule coming under assault from the very electoral and legislative institutions that are supposed to protect it. Our democracy is broken.
What’s more, it’s broken in ways that warp the character of our two major parties. In a healthy system, parties would work symmetrically to change minds and win votes within a democratic framework to which they are equally committed. Instead, one party is frighteningly open to authoritarianism and voter suppression, perceiving its partisan interests to be in conflict with democratic norms. The other is increasingly disillusioned and desperate, as its voters become functionally disenfranchised.
Fundamental Constitutional reforms like these are sometimes thought to be radical solutions, but, given the present crisis, defense of the status quo strikes me as more radical and dangerous by far. Our democracy will not survive a persistent and widening gap between popular will and the exercise of power.
This year, we have the choice of voting in-person on Election Day, voting in-person at an early voting site, or voting by mail/absentee. I had planned to write a post describing these options in greater detail, but because Assemblywoman Amy Paulin did exactly that in a recent email, I have the luxury of simply copying and pasting her words. Many thanks to Amy for her excellent and comprehensive round-up. Whichever option you choose, be absolutely certain to cast a ballot! Take it away, Amy . . .
Mail-In (Absentee Ballot) Voting
How to Request an Absentee Ballot
To receive an Absentee Ballot, a voter must submit a request/application. Voters can begin requesting Absentee Ballots immediately. Voters requesting an Absentee Ballot due to risk of contraction of COVID-19 should check the box for “temporary illness or physical disability.”
In most cases, if you submitted an Absentee Ballot application for the June 23rd Primary, you will need to submit a new application, even if you checked the “general election” box on your original application.
You can download the Absentee Ballot Application from the Board of Elections
By fax to (914) 995-7753 or (914) 995-3190 by Tuesday, October 27th;
By mail to the Westchester County Board of Elections, 25 Quarropas Street, White Plains, NY 10601, postmarked no later than Tuesday, October 27th; or
In person at the Westchester County Board of Elections, 25 Quarropas Street, White Plains, NY 10601 by Monday, November 2nd.
Additionally, New York State has launched an online Absentee Ballot Application Portal. Since the portal has never been used before, I cannot vouch for its effectiveness, but those wishing to use the portal can find it at https://absenteeballot.elections.ny.gov/.
Do not wait to apply for an Absentee Ballot! Despite the posted deadlines, the County Board of Elections will have many ballots to process, and the post office has advised that they cannot guarantee timely delivery of ballots applied for less than 15 days before the election (Monday, October 19th).
After an application is received and processed, ballots will be mailed out beginning September 18th.
How to Return a Completed Absentee Ballot
Completed Absentee Ballots must be returned by mail or in person using one of the following methods.
By mail, either with a postmark dated no later than Tuesday, November 3rd or without a postmark and received by the Board of Elections no later than Wednesday, November 4th.
In person at the Westchester County Board of Elections no later than Tuesday, November 3rd at the close of polls (9:00 pm).
In person at any Westchester County Early Voting poll site during voting hours between Saturday, October 24th and Sunday, November 1st. Dates and times for Early Voting poll sites are listed below. If you drop off your Absentee Ballot at an Early Voting poll site, you will not be required to wait in line.
In person at any Westchester County Election Day poll site on Tuesday, November 3rd. If you drop off your Absentee Ballot at an Election Day poll site, you will not be required to wait in line.
Note on In-Person Voting After Requesting an Absentee Ballot
All voters who request an Absentee Ballot are still eligible to vote in person, either using Early Voting or on Election Day. This includes voters who never receive their Absentee Ballot or voters who are worried that their returned Absentee Ballot will not arrive in time at the Board of Elections. If a voter does mail a completed Absentee Ballot and also votes in person, only the in-person vote will count. That voter’s Absentee Ballot would be set aside during the counting process.
Election Day – Tuesday, November 3rd
In-Person Voting will occur on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm. On Election Day, voters must vote at their assigned poll site.
Early Voting – Saturday, October 24th through Sunday, November 1st
All registered voters may choose to vote Early instead of on Election Day. Registered voters in Westchester County may vote at ANY of the 17 Early Voting poll sites listed below during any of the following days and hours.
Early Voting Hours
Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020 from noon until 5 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020 from noon until 5 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 26, 2020 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020 from noon until 8 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020 from noon until 8 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 30, 2020 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020 from noon until 5 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020 from noon until 5 p.m.
Early Voting Poll Sites – voters may vote at ANY site
Eastchester Public Library, 11 Oakridge Place, Eastchester, NY 10709
New Rochelle City Hall Annex – 90 Beaufort Place, New Rochelle, NY 10801
Westchester County Board of Elections, 25 Quarropas Street, White Plains, NY 10601
Dobbs Ferry Village Hall, 112 Main Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
Greenburgh Town Hall, 177 Hillside Avenue, White Plains, NY 10607
Veterans Memorial Building, 210 Halstead Avenue, Harrison, NY 10528
Pound Ridge Town House, 179 Westchester Avenue, Pound Ridge, NY 10576
Mamaroneck Town Center, 740 W. Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck, NY 10543
Mt. Kisco Memorial Complex at Leonard Park, 1 Wallace Drive, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549
Mt. Pleasant Community Center, 125 Lozza Drive, Valhalla, NY 10595
Mt. Vernon City Hall, 1 Roosevelt Square, Mt. Vernon, NY 10550
Joseph G. Caputo Community Center, 95 Broadway, Ossining, NY 10562
Peekskill Nutrition Center – Neighborhood Center, 4 Nelson Avenue, Peekskill, NY 10566
Somers Town House, 335 Route 202, Somers, NY 10589
Grinton I. Will Library, 1500 Central Park Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10710
Riverfront Library, One Larkin Center, Yonkers, NY 10701
Yorktown Cultural Center, 1974 Commerce Street, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
Register to Vote
It is not too late to register to vote for the November general election. For Westchester County residents, voter registration forms must be submitted to the Board of Elections, 25 Quarropas St, White Plains, NY, 10601. To be eligible to vote in the November 3rd election, the voter registration form must be postmarked or delivered in person by Friday, October 9th. New York state residents with a valid drivers license may also register online at https://dmv.ny.gov/more-info/electronic-voter-registration-application.
If you have moved within Westchester County and would like to update your registration, the Board of Elections must receive your change of address by Wednesday, October 14th. You can update your address by submitting a new voter registration form by mail, in person at the Board of Elections, or, if you have a valid New York State drivers license, through the DMV portal.
The Democratic nominee for President could be determined in the next few days. I strongly support @PeteButtigieg. He’s Democrats’ best bet to defeat Trump and end the toxicity of the Trump era. If you back Pete, too, please donate to his campaign today: p4a.us/s-donate. It’s now or never.
Please take a few moments to read Pete Buttigieg’s interview with the New York Times editorial board, because it is a great illustration of why I am so proud to support Pete for President. There are very few public officials, even at the highest levels, capable of discussing issues with anything close to Pete’s fluidity, depth, and thoughtfulness, evident across the full spectrum of topics, from highly-specific policy matters to broad questions of philosophy. (And all this shines through despite the Times’ weird fixation on McKinsey.) Pete Buttigieg will be an uplifting, transformative President and is exactly the right antidote for the toxicity of the Trump years.
Can you do me a favor? Would you please sign my petition to become a delegate to this year’s Democratic National Convention? I’m on a slate of eight delegates, who are pledged to Pete Buttigieg, and we need to collect at least 500 signatures from our area this month in order to qualify for the ballot. (A little more on that below.) If you are willing to sign, please meet me this weekend at either of these times and locations:
Saturday, January 11th from 2:00pm to 3:00pm at the Starbucks near Iona (726 North Avenue)
Sunday, January 12th from 11:00am to 12:00pm at the Starbucks in Wykagyl (1278 North Avenue)
As another option, you can drop by Alvin & Friends Restaurant (14 Memorial Highway) any time, where our same petition will be available.
In order to be eligible to sign, you must (a) live in the 16th Congressional District of New York, meaning that Eliot Engel is your Congressman, and (b) be registered to vote as a Democrat.
Signing the petition does not obligate you to vote for Pete Buttigieg or for anyone else. It simply allows delegates like myself to qualify for the ballot, so that the democratic primary process can occur. The New York primary will take place on April 28th — that’s when you have to choose a candidate.
Although our local delegate slate covers the whole Congressional District, I am proud to say that New Rochelle is very well-represented. In addition to myself, the delegate slate includes New Rochelle residents Fabiola Brito-Briseno, Sharad Khemani, and Gwen Clayton (the co-owner of Alvin & Friends.) The slate also includes Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, who represents half of New Rochelle, and Michael Clain, the former Mayor of Pelham.
I’ve never before tried to collect signatures on a petition this way, so it’s a bit of an experiment, and I am counting on my friends to show up! If you have a couple of minutes this weekend, I would really be grateful to see you. Coffee’s on me.