The results are in from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for 2020, and New Paltz students finished first in the SUNY system in voter participation during last year’s national elections.
New Paltz was the only SUNY institution to earn a Gold Seal from ALL IN, which is reserved for colleges that achieved a student voter participation rate of at least 70% in the 2020 presidential election.
“I have always known our students to be politically active and engaged within their communities,” said Erica Wagner ’08g (Humanistic / Multicultural Education), assistant director of community and civic engagement in the Center for Student Engagement. “We worked diligently last year, as we do every year, to ensure that all students were informed and able to make a voting plan. The Gold Seal distinction proves their dedication to the simple but powerful act of voting, despite the challenges of participating in a presidential election during a pandemic”
The culture of voting at SUNY New Paltz owes to collaboration between student groups and the Center for Student Engagement, which work to provide voter registration access and other nonpartisan resources to every student.
This includes many students who volunteer their time with organizations like the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG).
“Our work has been to make students aware of their voice, the power they hold, and how they can use it to shape their future,” said Chet Guenther ’22 (International Relations; Linguistics) local NYPIRG chapter president and New Paltz representative on their statewide board of directors. “When we vote, we keep those in power accountable and ensure that our systems carry us forward to a better tomorrow. The alternative is to be left behind.”
The trend at New Paltz reflects a national increase in young voters’ turnout during the 2020 election, which saw unprecedented registration and ballots cast among college students according to the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, a research study of the Institute for Democracy in Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University.
The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge celebrates these advancements toward a more inclusive democracy where all voters – and especially younger demographics with traditionally lower turnout rates – can let their voices be heard.
The organization provides support to more than 1,000 participating institutions, helping normalize young voters’ participation in local, state and federal elections, and encouraging student participation in the democratic process during and between elections, not just at the polls.
As a student you are able to register locally or you can register/maintain registration at your permanent hometown address. The choice is yours.
You should know that if you register locally, you can vote in all elections, including local elections that impact New Paltz. Likewise, you would not be able to vote in local elections in your hometown. If you reside on campus AND you are registered to vote locally, your designated polling location for major elections is typically the Student Union. In some special elections, the polling location may be within the village of New Paltz. Students living off campus should check the county board of elections website for their polling location.
If you choose to maintain voter eligibility in your hometown, be advised you will not be able to vote on campus during elections. You will either need to make arrangements to vote in your hometown on election days or vote absentee.
Following is a variety of resources to help you better understand voter registration in New York State. Voter registration is done by county so registration and change of registration is coordinated by the county board of elections.
For general questions regarding voter registration or upcoming elections, please contact the Center for Student Engagement at 845-257-3025, visit Student Union 211, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Confirm your Registration Status and (Re-)Register to Vote Now!
You will only be able to vote in local elections for the county/municipality in which you are registered to vote. Some important information when choosing whether to register at home or in New Paltz:
Confirm your current registration status and polling location at https://www.elections.ny.gov/
(Re-)Register: If you have moved to a new address or become available to vote in the last year, you will need to complete a new Voter Registration Form to ensure your registration is correctly recorded. This includes students who:
- moved to a different room on campus
- moved off campus
- moved on campus for the first time
- have turned 18 since the last election OR will be 18 as of Election Day.
In-Person on Election Day: If you registered to vote locally and wish to vote in-person, then you will need to make sure you verify your polling site. You can check your polling location at any time using this link. Students who live on campus and are registered to vote in New Paltz will vote in the Student Union Multipurpose Room (2nd floor) on Election Day. Students living off campus will likely have a different polling site in the village or town.
In-person Early Voting: We are also happy to announce that SUNY New Paltz Student Union 62 (lower level) will also serve as an Early Voting Location for Ulster County in 2021. Any voter registered in Ulster County can take advantage of this convenient option during Early Voting, October 23-31.
Absentee: You can vote by absentee ballot whether you decide to maintain voter registration in your hometown or register locally to New Paltz. However, if you choose to vote by absentee ballot this year, please be sure to note deadlines to request a ballot. We encourage you to complete this process as early as possible to avoid potential mail delays. See below for deadlines related to registration, absentee ballots, and more.
NYS Board of Elections: http://www.elections.ny.gov/INDEX.html
NYS Voter Registration and Poll Site Search: https://voterlookup.elections.ny.gov/
NYS State Voter Registration Information: http://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingRegister.html
- Voting application in fillable PDF (English): https://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/download/voting/voteform_enterable.pdf
- Voting application in fillable PDF (Spanish): https://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/download/voting/spanishvoteform_enterable.pdf
Instructions for Voting Absentee: http://www.elections.ny.gov/VotingAbsentee.html
- Absentee application in fillable PDF (English): https://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/download/voting/AbsenteeBallot-English.pdf
- Absentee application in fillable PDF (Spanish): https://www.elections.ny.gov/NYSBOE/download/voting/AbsenteeBallot-Spanish.pdf
Ulster County Board of Elections (http://ulstercountyny.gov/elections)
New Paltz Campus Guidelines for Political Campaigning, Distribution of Campaign Materials and Activity (https://www.newpaltz.edu/free-speech-policies/)
State of New York Election Law (2008) (http://system.suny.edu/media/suny/content-assets/documents/university-life/2008NYElectionLaw.pdf)
Important deadlines for the November 2 General Election
- October 8: Last day to mail/postmark your voter registration form for General Election.
- October 8: Last day for in-person registration at a local board of election or state agency participating in the National Voter Registration Act.
- October 13: Last day to change your address with the board of elections.
- October 18: Last day for board of elections to receive an application or letter of application by mail, online portal, email or fax for an absentee ballot.
- October 23: Last day for individuals who have been honorably discharged from the U.S. Military to register in-person at the Board of Elections. Also the last day for those who became a naturalized U.S. Citizen after Oct. 8, 2021 to register in person at the Board of Elections.
- October 23-31: Early voting. In Ulster County, six early voting locations will be open, and registered voters can vote at any of the sites during their hours of operation. Use this link for the addresses and operating hours for Ulster County early voting locations.
Please note that, while voters can vote early at any of these locations, those who choose to vote in-person on Election Day (Nov. 2) must vote at their designated polling site.
- November 1: Last day to apply in-person at a Board of Elections office for an absentee ballot application for general election.
- November 2: Election Day. Also last day to deliver completed absentee ballot in-person to the county Board of Elections or any polling site in your county, by the close of the polls at 9 p.m. Also last day to postmark absentee ballot.
Paid Opportunity for Registered Voters:
Ulster County Seeks Election Inspectors and Poll Workers
If you are a registered voter in Ulster County, you can apply to be an Election Inspector/Poll Worker. This is a paid opportunity at $15 per hour and paid training ($60) is required. Use this link to learn more and apply. Questions? Email email@example.com.
As a reminder, this opportunity is only available to individuals who are registered to vote in Ulster County.
Students with Disabilities:
The Disability Resource Center serves as the campus site coordinator for those that request or apply for accommodations or services with the location. The staff in the Disability Resource Center will assist those students that request accommodations with completing and submitting their voter registration materials. The Disability Resource Center is located on the 2nd floor of the Haggerty Administration Building, or can be contacted at 845-257-3020.
New Paltz Campus Designee for Voter Registration:
Erica Wagner, Assistant Director of Community and Civic Engagement
Center for Student Engagement
Student Union Room 211