Every election you should research the individuals running to represent you at various levels of governments: local, state, and federal. It may not be obvious at first, but the issues that elected officials vote on have a significant impact on our day-to-day lives. All aspects of government shape these policies, all the way down to local offices.
Primary elections occur before the general election and are used to decide which candidate a party will nominate for the general election. Because political parties can only have 1 candidate on the ballot per office, parties hold primary elections to let its members decide who the selected candidate will be. In order to vote in a Primary election, voters must be registered to vote as a member of a political party.
Midterm elections are held every two years. During midterm elections, every member of the House of Representatives and 1/3rd of the Senate are up for re-election. Every member of the House of Representatives is up for re-election because Representatives have 2-year terms, whereas Senators have 6-year terms. Turnout, especially youth turnout, tends to be much lower during midterm elections; in 2014 the midterm voter turnout was 37% of eligible voters.
General elections are held every 4 years. During general elections, every member of the House of Representatives and 1/3rd of the Senate are up for re-election. What sets the general election apart from the midterm election is that during the general election we also elect the President and Vice President for 4-year terms. For general elections, voter turnout tends to be much higher than the Midterm elections due to the election of the President. For example, in 2016 the voter turnout was roughly 58%.
Deadlines & Important Dates
The General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 7th, 2018. While the Primary Election will be held on September 15th, 2018.
In New York, you must be registered to vote before October 12th, 2018 in order to vote in the election on November 6th. Additionally, October 12th is also the last day you can change your party registration status before the General Election.
Absentee Ballots cannot be requested more than 30 days before an election, and must be postmarked the day before the election and received no more than 7 days after Election Day.