Do I have to register for a party?
You do have to check a box under the “Choose A Party” section on your voter registration form, but you do not have to register with a party. You can check the box “No Party” and be a registered voter that is non–affiliated with a political party. If you are interested in voting a party’s primary, then you must be registered with that party.
The primary elections are elections held by political parties to determine who will represent them in the general election. For example, in 2016, President Trump ran in a primary against more than ten other Republicans to earn the Republican nomination for president while Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders fought for the Democratic nomination.
What are the pros and cons of registering at my campus address versus my home address?
When registering to vote, an important decision is where you’re registering to vote. Where you register to vote determines which election you’re voting in and which candidates you have to choose from. You have two options: the first is to register at your address in Oswego, and the second is to register using your home address.
If you’re registering to vote using your Oswego address, and if you live in a Residence Hall, then you’d go to vote in the Marano Campus Center. There are two exceptions to this: first, if you live in the Mackin Complex, then you’re polling place will be at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church (240 W 1st St. Oswego, NY 13126). This is due to the Mackin Complex being a part of the city of Oswego, but the rest of the campus being a part of the town of Oswego. Second, if you are a commuter, then you wouldn’t vote at the Marano Campus Center, but at your local polling place. You will receive a notice from the Board of Elections with the specific polling location a few weeks after you register to vote.
Registering to vote at your Oswego address ensures that you will not have to fill out additional forms such as the Absentee Ballot Request Form and you will not have to mail in an absentee ballot. But, if you register to vote using your Residency Hall’s address, then you will have to reregister to vote every time your address changes; this includes your dorm room number changes. Additionally, Oswego is considered a swing district, or a district which doesn’t reliably vote for one party over another. This means that your vote could change the direction of the election.
If you’re registering to vote using your home address, and you live outside of Oswego County, then you will need to make a plan to drive to your assigned polling place in that district on Election Day or request an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots are used when a person has a legitimate reason of why they would not be able to make it to their usual polling location. These reasons include being out of the county due to being at college or deployed for military service. If you’re registered to vote at home, then you will not need to change your address until your permanent address has changed. People may choose to stay registered at their home address because their district is considered a swing district, or because they have a local issue which is important to them.