Voting is a privilege for citizens of the United States. Information that will be helpful to you about voting in the state of Ohio is listed below.
If you have questions that are unanswered after reading this document you may call your Board of Elections for further assistance.
Ohio’s first formal count of voters age 21 and over began on August 1, 1803. Ohio’s first law requiring registration of voters was enacted in 1845.
Today, although more than 6 million Ohioans are registered to vote, many citizens remain unregistered and ineligible to vote. It’s easy to register by mailing a registration form to the Secretary of State or at any of the designated registration sites below.
You are Qualified to vote if:
You are a citizen of the United States.
You are at least 18 years old on or before the day of the general election. If you will be 18 on or before the day of the general election, you may vote in the primary election for candidates only, but not on the issues.
You will be a resident of Ohio for at least 30 days before the election.
You register to vote at least 30 days before the election.
Does Everyone have to be registered to vote?
Yes, except for members of the armed forces serving on active duty. Their spouses and dependents are also exempt if they left Ohio to be near the service member.
Where can I register?
At any county board of elections or the Secretary of State’s Office.
At branch registration offices or locations established by a board of elections.
At any public high school or vocational school.
At the office of any Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
At offices of designated agencies which provide public assistance or disability programs .
County treasurer’s office.
Register by mail:
You may request a registration form from the board of elections, license bureau, libraries, or the Secretary of State’s office by mail, telephone, in person or by having another person obtain it for you. After completing the form, return it to the board of elections or Secretary of State’s office by mail.
Mailed registration forms sent to a county board of elections or the Secretary of State’s office must be postmarked 30 days before an election to be valid.
Registration forms not mailed in must be received by a board of elections, the Secretary of State’s office, public high school or vocational school, public library, office of any Bureau of Motor Vehicles, county treasurer’s office or designated agencies 30 days before an election to be valid for that election.
Do I declare my politics when I register?
No. Under Ohio law, your party affiliation is determined by the ballot you vote in a primary election.’
What if I change my address or name?
If you are registered and move within the state or same county or change your name, you must report the change to the board of elections by completing a voter registration form at the locations stated above or by mail as stated above.
You may also complete a notice of change in voting status and file it with the court when you apply for a marriage license or when your name is changed by court order.
Mailed forms sent to a county board of elections or the Secretary of State’s office must be postmarked 30 days before an election to be valid for the election.
Forms not mailed in must be received by a board of elections, the Secretary of State’s office, public high school, or vocational school, public library, office of any Bureau of Motor Vehicles, county treasurer’s office of designated agencies 30 days before an election to be valid for that election.
If you change your name and/or move from one precinct to another in your county, you may report the change and vote by appearing at the board of elections during the absentee voting period; or on election day you may go to the polling place in the precinct in which you reside, the board of elections or site designated by the board.
If you move from one county to another in the state, you may report the change and vote at the board of elections in the county in which you now reside during the absentee voting period, or on election day at the board of elections or site designated by the board.
The Secretary of State’s office maintains a phone line to provide information on registration and voting for deaf and hard of hearing citizens. The number is (614) 466-0562.
Where can I vote?
You can cast your ballot at the polling place designated to serve the precinct in which you reside. If you are in doubt as to the location of this polling place, check with the Board of Elections in your county.
When You Vote, Take I.D.
When you go to vote on Election Day, make sure you bring your identification. Acceptable identification includes:
a current and valid photo identification (i.e. Ohio driver license, state ID card, government ID). Photo identification must include your name and address (does not need to be current address for driver license or state id card); or
a military identification that shows your name, but not necessarily your address; or
a copy of a current utility bill (including cell phone bill), bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document that shows your name and current address (including from a public college or university).
Please note that Ohio law provides you cannot use as proof of identification a notice that the board of elections mailed to you. Voters who do not provide one of these documents will still be able to vote by provisional ballot. For more information, please call your local county board of elections office, visit www.sos.state.oh.us, or call the Ohio Secretary of State.