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Ohio Voting Quick Facts

Who Can Register to vote in Ohio

To register to vote in the State of Ohio, an individual must meet the following qualifications

  • You are a citizen of the United States;
  • You will be at least 18 years old on or before the day of the next general election. (If you will be 18 on or before November, you may vote in the primary election to nominate candidates, but you cannot vote on issues or party central committees until you are 18);
  • You will be a resident of Ohio for at least 30 days immediately before the election in which you want to vote;
  • You are not incarcerated (in prison or jail) for a felony conviction under the laws of this state, another state, or the United States;
  • You have not been declared incompetent for voting purposes by a probate court; and
  • You have not been permanently disenfranchised for violating the election laws.

Learn more about Who Can Register To Vote In Ohio?

How Do I Register To Vote in Ohio

Voting At The Polls On Election Day

WHAT IS AN ACCEPTABLE FORM OF IDENTIFICATION FOR VOTING

Ohio law requires that every voter, upon appearing at the polling place to vote on Election Day, must announce his or her full name and current address and provide proof of identity.

The forms of identification that may be used by a voter who appears at a polling place to vote on Election Day include:

  • An unexpired Ohio driver’s license or state identification card with present or former address so long as the voter’s present residential address is printed in the official list of registered voters for that precinct;
  • A military identification;
  • A photo identification that was issued by the United States government or the State of Ohio, that contains the voter’s name and current address and that has an expiration date that has not passed;
  • An original or copy of a current utility bill with the voter’s name and present address;
  • An original or copy of a current bank statement with the voter’s name and present address;
  • An original or copy of a current government check with the voter’s name and present address;
  • An original or copy of a current paycheck with the voter’s name and present address; or
  • An original or copy of a current other government document (other than a notice of voter registration mailed by a board of elections) that shows the voter’s name and present address.
  • For utility bills, bank statements, government checks, paychecks, and other government documents, “current” is defined as within the last 12 months. “Utility bill” includes a cell phone bill. “Other government document” includes license renewal and other notices, fishing and marine equipment operator’s license, court papers, or grade reports or transcripts. “Government office” includes any local (including county, city, township, school district and village), state or federal (United States) government office, branch, agency, commission, public college or university or public community college, whether or not in Ohio.

Learn more about Voting at the Polls on Election Day

Who Can Vote in Primary Elections in Ohio

Both Democrats and Republicans hold Semi-closed Primaries

While there is no restriction on choosing a particular party's ballot in the first instance,voters can be challenged on the basis of their lack of affiliation with a party if they voted in a different party primary in the previous two years.

If you do not want to be affiliated with a political party in Ohio, you are considered to be an unaffiliated voter. An unaffiliated voter, is identified by some people as an “independent voter”. If you wish to remain an Unaffiliated Voter you should only vote an Official Questions and Issues Ballot, if there are any present, for your precinct on Primary Election Day. Unaffiliated or Independent voters can vote for candidates and issues in a General Election.

Under Ohio election law, you can change your political party at a Primary Election only. This is done by requesting the ballot type for the political party with which you wish to be affiliated. Ohio Revised Code Section 3513.19, .20.

Ohio’s primary process strikes a balance between the statutory deference to an individual voter’s participatory rights and the political parties’ associative rights. To protect this balance, Directive 2011-43 prohibits against any precinct election official or board of elections member, director, deputy director, or clerk from challenging the right to vote of any elector on the grounds that the voter is not affiliated with or is not a member of the political party whose ballot the person desires to vote, unless that official has personal knowledge to the contrary.

Click here for additional information

Who Can Vote Absentee in Ohio

Early Voting In Person

  • All voters throughout Ohio can voter early.Ohio also allows same-day registration during early voting
  • Early voting begins 35 days before an election. Registered voters can request an absentee ballot through the mail or in person from their county board of elections. For specific information, including times and locations

Absentee Voting By Mail

  • All Ohio voters have the opportunity to vote in the next Primary or General Election from the convenience of their own homes by requesting an absentee ballot. You can request your ballot for each individual election beginning on January 1 or 90 days before the date of an election, whichever is earlier. Your request must be received by your local county board of elections by noon the third day before the election (usually a Saturday). However, you should submit your request as far in advance of the election as possible to ensure there is sufficient time for the board to mail you a ballot and for you to timely return that ballot.
  • The deadline to request an absentee ballot is November 5th at noon (three days before the General Election), but voters can submit their application any time. If mailed, absentee ballots must be postmarked by November 7th in order to be counted. You can also return your absentee ballot in-person to your county board of elections before the close of the polls at 7:30pm on Election Day.
  • You can request your ballot for each individual election beginning on January 1 or 90 days before the date of an election, whichever is earlier, but you must complete and submit a separate application for each election in which you want to vote. Your request must be received by your local county board of elections by noon the third day before the election (usually a Saturday). However, you should submit your request as far in advance of the election as possible to ensure there is sufficient time for the board to mail you a ballot and for you to timely return that ballot.

MILITARY AND OVERSEAS VOTERS

  • The voting rights of U.S. citizens living outside the U.S. and members of the uniformed services on active duty away from their Ohio voting residence are governed by a federal law known as "The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act" ( "UOCAVA"), amended by The "MOVE Act." as well as state law.
  • Generally, if you are a citizen residing outside the U.S., you are eligible to vote in elections in the state in which you resided immediately before leaving the U.S. if you were, or could have, registered to vote in that state while residing there, or currently are eligible under state law to vote in that state.

Learn more about Voting By Absentee Ballot In Ohio

What If My Address Has Changed

May a college student register and vote from his or her school address in Ohio?

  • It depends. A college student may vote using his or her Ohio school residence address if the student does not intend to return to a different permanent address. When a college student registers to vote from his or her school address, the school residence is considered to be the place to which the student's habitation is fixed and to which, whenever the student is absent, the student intends to return, and is considered by the student to be his or her permanent residence at the time of voting. Any other previous residence for voting purposes is no longer valid. It is illegal for a person to register and vote from two different addresses.

What are my obligations to keep the board of elections informed of address or name changes?

  • If you are already registered to vote but have moved within Ohio and/or changed your name, you must update your voter registration by submitting a new voter registration form.
  • Ohio's voter registration form also serves as a change of address and change of name form. It can be submitted through the mail or in person. For change of address purposes only, all Ohio voters also have the option of using the Secretary of State’s Online Change of Address System at www.MyOhioVote.com. Here, you can also check your voter registration and find other important voting information.
  • If your change of name and/or address form is completed properly, the board of elections will update your registration and send you a notice reflecting your new name and/or address. If your form is incomplete, the board will send you a notice of the information necessary to update your registration. If your valid change of name and/or address form is received or postmarked by the voter registration deadline, then you will be eligible to vote a regular (rather than a provisional) ballot at that election.
  • You may also update your registration during the 28 days immediately before, or on the day of, an election, but this may require you to vote a provisional ballot. For more information about provisional ballots, click here.

Learn more about Movers/college students Voting

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When Is The Next Election?

Upcoming Elections Calendar - Election dates and deadlines - Check Ohio upcoming elections schedule

Poll Hours: 6:30 AM-7:30 PM

3501.32 Hours for polling places.
(A) Except as otherwise provided in division (B) of this section, on the day of the election the polls shall be opened by proclamation by the voting location manager, or in the manager's absence by a voting location manager chosen by the precinct election officials, at six-thirty a.m. and shall be closed by proclamation at seven-thirty p.m. unless there are voters waiting in line to cast their ballots, in which case the polls shall be kept open until such waiting voters have voted.

(B) On the day of the election, any polling place located on an island not connected to the mainland by a highway or a bridge may close earlier than seven-thirty p.m. if all registered voters in the precinct have voted. When a polling place closes under division (B) of this section the voting location manager shall immediately notify the board of elections of the closing.

How can I find my polling location?

If you do not know where your polling place is,you can use voterlookup.sos.state.oh.us to check your voter registration and/or find your voting precinct and polling location. If you have any issues or questions, please contact your County Clerk

Can I Register At The Polls On Election Day?

OHIO : Yes

Ohio has "golden week" in which early voting begins 35 days before an election. This overlaps with Ohio's 30-day residency requirement for registering to vote and allows a voter to register and cast an early ballot on the same day. This was initially repealed by the legislature in 2014, but a recent court decision has reinstituted golden week. See NCSL's Absentee and Early Voting page for more information.

Can I Take Time Off For Voting? Yes

No employer, his officer or agent, shall discharge or threaten to discharge an elector for taking a reasonable amount of time to vote on election day; or require or order an elector to accompany him to a voting place upon such day; or refuse to permit such elector to serve as an election official on any registration or election day; or indirectly use any force or restraint or threaten to inflict any injury, harm, or loss; or in any other manner practice intimidation in order to induce or compel such person to vote or refrain from voting for or against any person or question or issue submitted to the voters.

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