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Voting & Elections Toolkits

Voter Registration in Ohio

Eligibility

  • Age: At least 18 years old on or before the day of the next general election. (If you will be 18 on or before the general election, you may vote in the primary election to nominate candidates, but you cannot vote on issues or party central committees until you are 18)
  • Formerly incarcerated individuals: Not incarcerated (in prison or jail) for a felony conviction under the laws of this state, another state, or the United States
  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Residence: You will be a resident of Ohio for at least 30 days immediately before the election in which you want to vote
  • College students can either vote absentee in their home state or register to vote in OH at least 30 days prior to the election
  • Check to see if you are already registered https://voterlookup.ohiosos.gov/voterlookup.aspx

For more information, please visit the Ohio Secretary of State website.

Deadline

  • Voter registration deadline is no later than 30 days prior to an election.
  • February 18, 2020 for the March 17, 2020 Primary Election
  • July 6, 2020 for the August 4, 2020 Special Election
  • October 5, 2020 for the November 3, 2020 General Election
  • If you register or update your information after the deadline, the change will apply for the next election
  • Guidelines
  • Election Calendar
  • OH does not offer same-day voter registration 

Online registration

To use the online voter registration system you must have a current Ohio driver’s license or Ohio identification card number, name, date of birth, address, and last four digits of your Social Security Number.

Online registration form (in English and Spanish).

Mail-in registration

Printable form.

Refer to the box below for information about ID requirements.

Choosing a political party:   

No. Under Ohio election law, you declare your political party affiliation by requesting the ballot of a political party in a partisan primary election.

If you do not desire to affiliate with a political party in Ohio, you are considered to be an unaffiliated voter. An unaffiliated voter does not vote the ballot of a political party in a primary election. However, an unaffiliated voter may vote the Official Questions & Issues Ballot, if there is one for the voter's precinct at the election.

 

Updating registration      

To update registration after a move, name change, use the voter registration form:

Online registration form (in English and Spanish).

Mail in registration form.

Cancelling registration

County Boards of Elections Directory: Each of Ohio’s 88 counties has a Board of Elections (BOE) office that is responsible for administering local elections. For addresses and contact information see the County Boards of Elections Directory.

To cancel your Ohio registration complete the voter registration cancelation form and mail it to your county board of elections.

ID Requirements for Ohio Voters

ID Requirements for Registration

Online Registration

For online voter registration, an Ohio driver’s license or Ohio identification card number is required.

Link to online registration form.

Mail-in Registration

You must provide a copy of one of the documents listed on the form to verify residence:

  • Driver’s license number, OR
  • Last four digits of Social Security number, OR
  • You must present a copy of either a current and valid photo ID, military ID with your name and address, OR
  • “a copy of a current (within the last 12 months) utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or government document (other than a a notice of voter registration mailed by a board of elections) that shows your name and current address.”

Link to mail-in Registration form.

If you were unable to provide acceptable proof of identity you may cast a provisional ballot subject to verification of your eligibility to vote. In accordance with Ohio law, you mush appear in person at the board of elections within 7 days immediately following Election Day to provide the necessary proof.

ID Requirements 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.

Provisional ballots: If you do not have any of the above forms of identification you may provide either your Ohio driver’s license or state identification number (which begins with two letters followed by six numbers) or the last four digits of your Social Security number and cast a provisional ballot. Once the information is reviewed and verified by the board of elections, your ballot will be counted.

If you do not provide one of the above documents or your driver’s license/state identification number or the last four digits of your Social Security number at the precinct, you will still be able to vote using a provisional ballot. However, in order for that ballot to be counted, you must return to the board of elections no later than seven days following Election Day to provide a qualifying form of identification.”

For more information, please visit the Ohio Secretary of State website.

Where to get an ID

Bureau of Motor Vehicles

Obtaining a Driver’s License

Casting a Ballot in Ohio

Important Dates

  • Primary Election: March 17, 2020
  • General Election: November 3, 2020
  • Early voting: “Starting the day after the close of voter registration, all registered voters may request and vote an absentee ballot in person at their county board of elections or early voting center as designated by the county.”

Absentee voting

Opening/closing dates

  • The deadline to request an absentee ballot is three days before the election in which you want to vote, but voters can submit their application any time. 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. If mailed, absentee ballots must be postmarked by the day before the election 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 send your absentee ballot by U.S. Mail or deliver it in person to your county board of elections, but the return envelope containing your marked ballot must either be received by your county board of elections prior to the close of the polls on Election Day, or postmarked no later than the day before the election and received by the board of elections no later than 10 days after the election. To make sure your absentee ballot is counted, it must be received by your board of elections by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day OR be postmarked by the day before Election Day.”
  • For more information on Absentee Ballots and Voting, please visit the Ohio Secretary of State website.
  • Absentee ballots for the November 6 general election will be available on October 5, 2018 and will not be issued after November 5, 2018.
  • Absentee ballots for the November 6 general election are due to the Town Clerk “(1) by the close of the polls if it is mailed or if it is returned by a member of the immediate family of the applicant in person or by the qualified designee of an ill or physically disabled ballot applicant in person, or (2) by the day before the election if it is returned in person by the applicant.”

Military voters and voters who reside outside the U.S.

  • “You must designate the form in which you prefer to receive your absentee ballot when you complete the Federal Post Card Application. You may receive it by mail, fax or email. Local boards of elections are required to mail uniformed services or overseas absentee ballots beginning on the 46th day before the primary or general election, or as early as possible before any special election.”         
  • Overseas absentee ballots may be returned only by U.S. Postal Service or another delivery service such as UPS or FedEx, or in person.  An absentee ballot must arrive at the board office by the close of polls on Election Day if delivered in person.  An absentee ballot returned by mail shall be submitted for mailing not later than 12:01 a.m. on the date of the election at the place where the voter completes the ballot.  It must arrive at the board of elections office on or before the 10th day after the election.
  • For more information regarding military and overseas voting, please visit the Ohio Secretary of State website.

Who is eligible to use an absentee ballot?

In order to apply for and receive an absentee ballot, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • “All Ohio voters whose registration information is up-to-date have the opportunity to vote in any election from the convenience of their own homes by requesting an absentee ballot. Voters need only fill out and return an application and their absentee ballot will be mailed to them so they may make their selections at their leisure and return their ballot to the board of elections ahead of Election Day.”

Application for Absentee Ballot (English or Spanish).

Polling places and hours

  • Use the Polling Place Locator to find your polling place.
  • For a general election or primary, polls in Ohio are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Time off to vote: Ohio requires employers to give employees “reasonable time” off to vote.

Rides to the polls

Many organizations offer free rides to polling places. Some of these include:

  • Lyft provides free or discounted rides in some underserved communities
  • Political parties sometimes arrange rides for voters. Contact the local office:

Help for voters with disabilities

Ballots

Where to get more info on candidates.

Sample ballots.

General Resources on Voting and Elections

General Resources on Voting and Elections


Hotlines


1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)

1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)

1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)


Voter Registration & Election Day Resources

Find useful voter information including:

  • Local Election Office and Contact Information
  • Address, Telephone and Email for Local Election Offices
  • Upcoming Federal Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Upcoming State Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Identification Requirements
  • Voter Materials Transmission Options
  • State Lookup Tools – Am I Registered? Where’s my Ballot?

Population-Specific information and Resources

Voting Rights: Laws, Cases, Policy

Voter Engagement

Voter Education

Campaign Finance/Funding Information

Primary Sources, Lesson Plans & Exhibits

Disclaimer

Librarians from the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT), a Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA), created these reference guides. These guides are intended for informational purposes only and are not in any way intended to be legal advice.

These guides are designated with a Creative Commons license and re-use and modification for educational purposes is encouraged.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.