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April 1st, 2004

Voting in the Hamptons Q & A

by Thom McVann

I can vote in the Hamptons. Can You? The answer to this time old question is almost always yes. The rules of voting in New York State are essentially the same as the rest of the USA and are governed by the Federal Constitution. Both Federal and State law permit you to select any one voting residence so long as it is your intent to return to that residence at the time that you enroll to vote. This simple idea has been expressed by both Federal and State judges in deciding basic “resident” voting rights cases. It means that as long your intent and state of mind are such that at the moment you enroll to vote you intend to return to the address from which you are have enrolled-then your vote is proper. You may only vote once in any given election.

QUESTION: I live in New York City in an apartment and own a house in Westhampton Beach. I voted in the November 2003 election in the City from my east side address. May I vote in the June 2004 Westhampton Beach Village Election?

ANSWER: Yes, you can as long as at the time that you register for the Westhampton Beach election it is your intention that Westhampton Beach be your voting residence and it is your present intent to return there. You need not be a homeowner to enroll to vote. You may vote if you are renting or even staying with your friend.

Q: What if I vote in the Westhampton Beach June Village election and then decide that a New York City issue or candidate in the November election is important, can I register and vote from my apartment.

A: Yes you may so long as it is your present intent to return to your New York address at the moment that you enroll to vote in the New York City election. Remember, you may vote only once in any given election but there are many elections each year. On the east end of Long Island the Town, Village, School Board and other local elections are usually held on different dates throughout the year. Don’t loose your right to be heard on local east end candidates and Issues because you mistakenly believe that the first Tuesday in November is the ony “election day” each year.

Q: What do I need to do in order to vote in the upcoming Westhampton Beach Village election in June of this year or any other local election that is important to me?

A: You must register to vote before the date of the election with the proper board of elections so that your name appears on the voter registration list at the polling place.

Q: How do I register to vote in the Westhampton Beach Local June election or any other local election in Suffolk County?

A: Write or visit: Board of Elections, County of Suffolk, P.O.Box 700, Yaphank, New York 11980, Phone: 631 852 4500. Tell them that you are a resident of West-hampton Beach or other local municipality then fill out the voter registration form and submit it. This may be done in person or by mail. You can also register through the Clerk of the Village of Westhampton Beach (or other local municipality).

Q: When do I need to do this?

A: As soon as possible but no later than thirty days before the election in which you wish to vote. In the case of Westhampton Beach the election is June 15th; therefore your voter registration form must be in the hands of the board of elections by May 15th.

Q: Why should I bother to register and vote in local east end elections?

A: Because local east end elections are decided by a very small number of voters and you can really control some of your own destiny. The framers of the Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court have clearly given you the right to be heard. So be heard by doing something other than making empty complaints at cocktail parties. The east end is where your heart and best investment either is or will soon be. Register and vote in the local elections. The President is not the only elected official who decides how to spend your money and what’s good for you. Local officials also spend rainy days deciding what’s good for you.

Why not decide what is good for them?

Thom McVann

Filed Under: Articles | Politics | the Hamptons

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