New Yorkers have the right to vote from their country/beach homes!
The New York Election Law defines “residence” as “that place where a person maintains a fixed, permanent and principal home and to which he, wherever temporarily located, always intends to return.” N.Y. Election Law §§ 5-102 and 1-104(22). The word "permanent" requires only physical presence and an intention to remain for the time at least. See Palla v. Suffolk County Board of Elections, 31 N.Y.2d 36, 37 (N.Y. 1972).
The key case from New York State’s highest court regarding second-home owners' voting rights is Ferguson v. McNab, 60 N.Y.2d 598 (N.Y. 1983), which held that a person having two residences “may choose one to which she has legitimate, significant and continuing attachments as her residence for purposes of the Election Law.”
A more recent appellate case, Willkie v. Board of Elections, 55 A.D.3d 1088 (N.Y. App. Div. 2008) reaffirmed that this principle protects typical weekender/country- or beach- homeowners who work or commute in one part of the state and choose to register and vote from their country homes. The court said it was not the address on a tax return or a driver’s license that mattered most, but a homeowner’s “intent” and personal connection to a home, even one where the voter stays only on weekends and holidays. See also Fingar v. Martin, 68 A.D.3d 1435 (N.Y. App. Div. 2009).
For basic voter registration eligibility requirements, deadlines, and forms visit the New York State Board of Elections.
For more information including frequently asked questions about second-home owner voting, please visit http://votewhereitcounts.org