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League of Women Voters

Ohio Voting Guide

Registration Deadlines
In Person:
Monday, April 9, 2018
By Mail:
Postmarked by Monday, April 9, 2018
Election Dates:
Tuesday, May 8, 2018 (Primary)
Secretary of State
180 East Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone:
614-466-2655
Fax:

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to vote in Ohio, you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States
  • At least 18 years old on or before the day of the general election
  • A resident of Ohio for at least 30 days immediately before the election
  • Not be incarcerated (in prison) for a felony conviction under the laws of the United States, this state or any other state of the United States
  • Not been declared incompetent for voting purposes by a probate court
  • You haven't been permanently disenfranchised for violating the election laws

 

ID Needed for Voter Registration

When registering in person you must provide a current, valid Ohio driver's license number or the last four digits of your Social Security number on the application.

If registering by mail and you do not provide your current Ohio driver's license or the last four digits of your Social Security number on the application, please enclose with your application a copy of one of the following forms of identification that shows your name and current address:

  • Current valid photo ID card
  • Military ID
  • Current (within one year) utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or government document (except board of elections notifications) showing your name and current address.

ID Needed 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

Registration Deadline

The registration deadline is 30 days before the election.

Verify Voter Registration

To verify your voter registration status, please use your state's voter verification tool. For additional information, please contact your elections office or board of elections for your county, city or state.

Absentee Ballot Process

A qualified Ohio voter does not have to state a reason to vote by an absentee ballot, and a voter with only a Social Security number or an Ohio license number as identification can cast a regular ballot. However, the ballot must be applied for in writing. If you are properly registered to vote, you submit your written request to the board of elections of the county in which your voting residence is located. Your request must contain certain information (discussed below) and your original signature. You may, but are not required to, use the application form prescribed by the Ohio Secretary of State.

You do not need to submit an official absentee ballot application. You need to request an absentee ballot by written request, and it must contain all of the following information:

  • Your date of birth
  • Your name
  • Your signature
  • The address at which you are registered to vote and your date of birth
  • One of these items showing proof of identification: Ohio driver's license number, the last four digits of your Social Security number, a copy of your current and valid photo ID, military ID, or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and current address
  • A statement identifying the election for which absent voter's ballots are requested
  • A statement that you are a qualified elector
  • If you want the ballots to be mailed, the address to which you want them mailed

Absentee voting begins 29 days before an election. Absentee ballots must be received before the close of the polls on election day, or postmarked no later than the day before an election and received no later than 10 days after the close of the polls. Once absentee ballots are available for voting, you may either vote in person at the county board of elections office, or receive and return the absentee ballot via U.S. Mail, or overnight delivery services such as FedEx or UPS.

To receive your absentee ballot:

  • By mail: Unless you are a member of the U.S. armed forces, you must mail your properly completed absentee ballot application bearing your original signature to the board of elections of the county where your voting residence is located. The board must receive your request by noon on the Saturday before the election. However, you should submit your request as far in advance of the election as possible.
  • In person: You may go to the county board of elections office during regular business hours after absentee ballots are available for voting, but no later than the day before the election, and request, receive and immediately vote your ballot at the board office.
  • If you are hospitalized on election day, regardless of where you are hospitalized, you must submit a properly completed and signed request to the board of elections of the county where your voting residence is located by 3:00 pm on Election Day. To be eligible under this provision, you must be confined in a hospital because of an unforeseeable medical emergency. Your application must specify where, why and when you came to be hospitalized. You may include in your absentee ballot application a request that your county board of elections give your unmarked ballot to a designated relative. A relative includes: your spouse, father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandfather, grandmother, brother, sister, son, daughter, adopted parent, adopted child, stepparent, stepchild, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece. Your relative would then deliver the ballot to you in the hospital and return it to the board office after you have voted it. If you are hospitalized in the same county where you are registered to vote, two representatives of the board of elections can deliver the ballot to you and return it to the board office.

Overseas citizens and U.S. military personnel can find information on how to register to vote and request an absentee ballot at the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Overseas and Military Voters

You are a Military or Overseas voter if you are in uniformed services, living overseas OR a spouse or dependant of a uniformed services voter. To get registered and vote, you can utilize Overseas Vote Foundation.

If you have additional questions about elections and voting overseas you can use our state specific elections official directory or contact the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Early Voting

Early voting starts 27 days before the election. All registered voters may request and vote an absentee ballot in person at their county board of elections or voting center as designated by the county. For specific information on times and locations contact your board of elections.

Election Dates

The next election date is Tuesday, May 8, 2018 (Primary). The registration deadline is Monday, April 9, 2018.

Contact your local Board of Elections for more information.

Poll Worker Information

In order to be a poll worker in Ohio:

  • You must be registered to vote in the county in which you plan to work
  • You must be at least 18 years of age
  • You must be a resident of the county and state for the 30 days prior to the election
  • You must complete required training
  • You must not have been convicted of a felony
  • You cannot be running as a candidate for the election in which you are working
  • Students 17 years old must be a country resident and enrolled in senior year of high school to be appointed

You will be entitled to compensation

To sign up, contact your local board of elections.

Polling Place Hours

The polls will be open from 6:30 am - 7:30 pm.

Time Off To Vote

Employers are prohibited from firing an employee who takes a reasonable amount of time to vote. Salaried employees should be elegible for paid time off to vote. Specifications of time vary by employer.

Polling Place Locator

You can find your polling place by utilizing your state resource. If you have further questions on your polling place location, please contact your county clerk.

Provisional Voting

A provisional ballot is used to record a vote if the voter's eligibility is in question and the voter would otherwise not be allowed to vote. There are several scenarios where a voter may cast a provisional ballot:

  • Your name does not appear on the official poll list for the precinct or an election official asserts that you are not eligible to vote or is unable to determine your eligibility
  • You are unable or decline to provide the required proof of identity
  • Your name appears on the official poll list for that precinct as having already requested an absentee ballot
  • Your name is marked on the poll list or signature book with a notation that certain registration mailings have been returned as undeliverable
  • A hearing on a challenge to your eligibility as an elector has been postponed until after Election Day
  • Your signature, in the opinion of the precinct officers, does not match the signature on your registration form
  • Your eligibility to cast a ballot has been challenged by the precinct officials

Before your provisional ballot can be included in the official count of an election, the board of elections must confirm your eligibility to cast the ballot, as well as the validity of the ballot that you cast. If you cast a provisional ballot and provided acceptable proof of identity, you typically do not need to provide any additional information. However, if you cast a provisional ballot and did not provide acceptable proof of identity at the time of voting, you must appear in person at the board of elections no later than seven days following the election to provide such proof within the 10 days immediately following Election Day. Acceptable proof of identity includes:

  • Current and valid photo ID
  • A military identification
  • A copy of a current (within the last 12 months) utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document (not a voter registration acknowledgement mailed by the board of elections) that shows your name and current address
  • The last four digits of your Social Security number

 

Voting Machines

The voting systems used in Ohio are optical scan and DRE.

Optical Scan: With this system, you will receive a card or sheet of paper, which you take over to a private table or booth. The card has the names of the various candidates and ballot measures printed on it. With a pen or pencil you fill in a little box or circle or the space between two arrows. When you are finished filling out all the cards, you may bring the cards over to a ballot box, where poll workers will show you how to put the cards in the box. Or in some places, you may feed the completed cards or papers into a computer device that checks your card or paper right there at the polling place to make sure you have voted the way you want to and counts the votes.

Direct Recording Electronic (DRE): This is the newest kind of system in use in the U.S. All the information about who and what you are voting for is on an electronic screen like a TV or computer screen.

There are many variations of DREs because lots of companies are inventing new ones, and many cities, counties and states are trying them out. Usually, after you have signed in, the poll workers will give you a card that you slide into a device to start your voting session.

Some of these devices will show all of the candidates and ballot choices on one big screen. Often, with these big screen devices you push a button next to the name of the candidate you want to vote for (or yes or no on a ballot measure). On other DREs, the screen is set up to show pages. On each screen or page, there will probably be one thing to vote on. For example, on one screen or page, you might vote for president. Then you might move to the next page to vote for senator. Often these small-screen devices have a touch screen, where you touch the screen next to the name of the person you want to vote for. Other devices have a key pad. And some have a keyboard, so you can write in the name of someone you want to vote for.

You let the system know you are finished voting by pushing a button, touching the screen or entering something on a keypad.

You can learn more about voting systems by checking out the Elections Assistance Commission's (EAC) resource.

Candidate and Ballot Measure Information

To see a list of available races, visit the race index.

For more information on judicial candidates, click here.

Provisions for Voters with Disabilities

Ohio polling places should provide touch screen voting machines and have audio adaptations for assisting the blind. There are also adaptations for voters with lack of muscle control. If you have a disability you may also have assistance by two election officials (of different political parties) or by the person of your choice (except employer or union agent). Poll workers are urged to accommodate voters with disabilities in any way they can. If the polling place is not accessible for you, when possible you may vote curbside. In these cases, two poll workers will take a voting device to the you.

For more information, contact the Secretary of State's ADA Coordinator, Brett Harbage at 614-387-6039 or by email at bharbage@sos.state.oh.us. You can also contact the Ohio Legal Rights Service at 800-282-918, or the the American Association of People With Disabilities (AAPD) at 800-840-8844. Sue Hetrick from the Ohio Disability Vote Coalition can be reached at 866-575-8055, and can also provide assistance to disabled voters.

 

Campaign Finance Information

For information on federal campaign contributions, please visit Open Secrets.

For information on state campaign contributions, please visit your state's resource.


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Election Day Problems?

Call one of these hotlines:
1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)
1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)
1-844-418-1682 (Arabic)

 

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