CUNY Making It Easier for Students to Register to Vote

In what is believed to be the first system-wide initiative in New York State, The City University of New York, in consultation with the New York City Board of Elections, is providing CUNY students with personalized voter registration forms effective Sept. 5. (Please scroll BELOW for a sample form).  

All of the standard identifying fields – such as name, address and birthdate -- will be automatically filled in from information students have already entered into the University’s database.  This nonpartisan initiative lets students fill out the rest of the form online, including two required fields: if they wish to register in a political party and if they have voted before. The form also poses several optional questions. Then it’s a simple matter to print out, sign and mail the postage-paid form or leave it at a designated campus office. 

Screenshot of Sample Online CUNYfirst New York State Voter Registration Form for Students


Screenshot of Sample Online CUNYfirst New York State Voter Registration Form for Students

“From higher education and immigration to health care and more, your elected officials make decisions that impact your everyday life,” Jay Hershenson, the Senior Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Secretary of the Board of Trustees, and Christopher Rosa, the Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, write in an email to all students that urges them to enroll and to vote. “You will want to have the officials in place to represent what’s most important to you.”

CUNY has taken this initiative ahead of the Nov. 8 general election, when voters will decide contests for President, Congress and all members of the New York State Legislature. The registration deadline is Friday, Oct. 14.

Students can access the registration forms by logging into their individual CUNYfirst accounts, the online system they use to manage their academic careers. By clicking the “NYS Voter Registration Form” box, they will generate the almost-completed voter registration form.

In advance of the 2015 off-year election, the University’s voter registration drive – one of the largest in New York – was a major factor in the first-time registration of 20,513 CUNY students. That fall, CUNY had some 274,000 students. Among them were almost 37,500 freshmen, many newly eligible to vote at age 18.

Research conducted for the New York City Campaign Finance Board after the 2012 election found that voting rates tend to increase as the level of educational achievement rises. Of CUNY students registered to vote, more than two thirds cast their ballots in the last 2012 presidential election.

Research conducted for the New York City Campaign Finance Board after the 2012 election found that voting rates tend to increase as the level of educational achievement rises. Of CUNY students registered to vote, more than two thirds cast their ballots in the last 2012 presidential election.

Students who are not citizens or who need assistance with their immigration status may contact CUNY Citizenship Now for assistance via  http://www1.cuny.edu/sites/citizenship-now/.