Open Buffalo has declared the Summer of 2021 a Freedom Summer! This Freedom Summer pays homage to the ancestors, organizers, freedom fighters and organizations who created the first Freedom Summer in 1964. It is because of their passion, brilliance and resilience that we are able to do the work we are doing today.
With your support we hope to empower residents in Western New York with knowledge of the history of the original Freedom Summer; register and engage with voters; and work on winning the "For the People Act" on a national level. We plan to change the relationship our community has with (the too often unrealized) impact, power and change that is held within each and every one of our votes.
Fannie Lou Hamer
The original Freedom Summer was organized in part by a fearless voting rights leader named Fannie Lou Hamer. Hamer was a sharecropper from Mississippi who took action so that Black folks might be seen as first-class citizens and be able to vote without restrictions or penance.
In 1962, Hamer and the others marched to the county courthouse in Indianola to register to vote. They were faced with a literacy test. On their way back home after the test, they were held up by police. The bus driver was charged with driving a bus with the wrong color. When she got back, the plantation owner fired Hamer, upset that she had tried to register to vote. Her words were, “I didn’t register for you, I registered for me.”
Hamer and others were targeted because of their efforts to be able to vote without restrictions or barriers.
They persevered despite unjust incarceration, brutal beatings, and other state-sponsored indignities.
Hamer spoke at the 1964 Democratic convention in Mississippi, revealing the ugly truth of what they endured.
716 Votes! is a civic initiative of Open Buffalo to engage, educate and activate people of color, young adults (ages 16 to 25), and other under-represented groups, to increase voter registration and participation in the 2021 election and beyond. We are working to build lasting community capacity for systemic change, both during and outside of election seasons. 716 Votes! is rooted in empowerment, training and leadership. Our objective is to help individuals heal from community traumas, and then teach them how to become advocates for racial equity, social justice, and policy change.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Sign up to volunteer in our upcoming voter education and engagement initiatives. (We'll train you!)
City elections in Buffalo, New York (2021) - Ballotpedia
Mayoral election in Buffalo, New York (2021) - Ballotpedia
2021 Offices to be Elected630.pdf (erie.gov)
Results Cast (resultscaster.com)
To check your voter registration status, and more, click here: Voter Information
Want to register to vote today? Look for the "Register to Vote" form below!
October 8: Deadline to register or re-register to vote (must be postmarked by October 8)
October 26: Deadline to request an absentee/mail-in ballot (must be postmarked by October 26)
**It is highly recommended that although the deadline is October 26 for an absentee ballot application to be received by the Board of Elections, the request should be submitted as soon as possible - the earlier the better.
AND, a first-class $.55 stamp is REQUIRED to mail your ballot to the Board of Elections.
- Review the ABSENTEE BALLOT PRINTABLE APPLICATION & GUIDELINES and confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements for voting absentee
- Fill out the application completely or complete online ONLINE ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATION
- Submit the request to your local election office (or complete online). You should request your ballot as far in advance of the election as possible. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is (received by) Tuesday, October 26, 2021
- When your ballot arrives, read it carefully and follow the instructions to complete it and return it as soon as possible.
October 23 - October 31: Early Voting
Early voting allows you to vote in person at a poll site within your county for nine (9) days, beginning Saturday, October 23, 2021 through Sunday, October 31, 2021. You do not need to have a reason or excuse to vote early.
37 poll sites throughout Erie County will be open (10 in the City of Buffalo).
Click here for sites: Early Voting Locations
November 1: Absentee but submitting in person - last day to get an absentee ballot in person and last day to submit/postmark
November 2: General Election
All polling sites in Erie County will be open for in-person voting from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- In the 2017 city and county election, only 10% of youth ages 18 to 30 turned out to vote.
- In the 2016 presidential election, youth turnout was just 43%.
- For all voters, the turnout was 34% in the 2017 city/county election, and 66% in 2016 presidential election.