Voting in Ohio

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General Information
Election DatesPoll Opening and Closing Times
Voting in 2014 Primaries
Ballot access for major and minor party candidates

Absentee voting • Early voting 
Open Primary • Closed Primary • Blanket Primary
Online voter registration in the 50 states
This page has information relating to voting in Ohio. For full information contact your state election agency.

Registration

To vote in Ohio, you must meet the following requirements:[1]

  • 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 6, 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.

When and where

You may register to vote in person or by mail. Registration must be completed at least 28 days prior to the election. You can obtain an application and register to vote in any of the following locations:[1]

  • The office of the Secretary of State;
  • The office of any of the 88 county boards of elections;
  • The office of the registrar or any deputy registrar of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles;
  • Public libraries;
  • Public high schools or vocational schools;
  • County treasurers’ offices; or
  • Offices of designated agencies, including:
  • The Department of Job and Family Services;
  • The Department of Health (including the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program);
  • The Department of Mental Health;
  • The Department of Developmental Disabilities;
  • The Rehabilitation Services Commission; or
  • The office of any state-assisted college or university responsible for providing assistance to disabled students.

Online registration

See also: Online voter registration in the 50 states

As of September 2014, Ohio is one of the 35 states that have not implemented online voter registration. Ohio has bills pending in the 2013-2014 legislative session which would authorize online voter registration. One bill was introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives.[2]. A separate bill was introduced in the Ohio Senate.[3]

Voting on election day

On Election Day at the polling place, Ohio law requires that every voter announce his or her full name and current address. Additionally, voters must provide proof of their identity. A photo ID is not required.[4]

Poll times

See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times

In Ohio, all polling places will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time. If, however, you are in line at the time of the poll closing at 7:30 p.m. you will be allowed to vote.[5]

Primary voting

Ohio is one of 21 states with a mixed primary system. Only affiliated voters can vote for candidates in the primary election; however, voters do not choose their affiliation until election day, when they request a party's ballot.[6]

Absentee voting

See also: Absentee voting

Eligibility

All voters are eligible to vote absentee in Ohio. There are no special eligibility requirements for voting absentee.[7]

Deadlines

Absentee ballots may be requested for each individual election beginning on January 1 or 90 days before the date of an election, whichever is earlier. The request must be received by the local county board of elections by noon the third day before the election. A returned absentee ballot must then be postmarked at least one day before election day and received by the elections board no later than 10 days after the election.[7]

Military and overseas voting

For full details, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program here.

2014 developments

On February 21, 2014, Governor John Kasich signed into law two bills that altered the state's early and absentee voting provisions. Senate Bill 238 eliminated "Golden Week," a period during which state residents could register and vote on the same day, and shortened the early voting period by a week. Senate Bill 238 reduced the number of voting days from 35 to 29. Under Senate Bill 205, the Secretary of State will be required to get funding approval from the legislature before mailing absentee ballot applications statewide.[8]

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald denounced the bills as "outrageous and unnecessary and totally motivated by a desire to make it tougher to vote." He also indicated that he had directed his county law director to review the bills for possible legal action.[8]

The bipartisan Ohio Association of Election Officials has said that allowing individuals to both register and vote on the same day results in difficulties in properly validating voters.[8]

2012 developments

As of 2012, all registered voters in Ohio will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail. This is the first time in the state's history that all registered voters will receive applications, earning widespread praise from both parties. The only concern comes from those voters who request an absentee ballot but later decide to vote in person at the polls, which could cause increased numbers of provisional ballots. Provisional ballots are only used when there are questions over whether a person may cast a ballot. They are counted only once a voter's eligibility has been confirmed, in this case, after confirming that he or she did not both vote absentee and at the polls.[9]

Early voting

See also: Early voting

Ohio is one of 34 states that has early voting with no specific requirements as to who can vote early. Early voting begins 29 days before an election and ends the day prior to election day.[10] The average number of days prior to an election that voters can cast an early ballot is 21 days in states with a definitive starting date.

2014 developments

On February 21, 2014, Governor John Kasich signed into law two bills that altered the state's early and absentee voting provisions. Senate Bill 238 eliminated "Golden Week," a period during which state residents could register and vote on the same day, and shortened the early voting period by a week. Senate Bill 238 reduced the number of voting days from 35 to 29. Under Senate Bill 205, the Secretary of State will be required to get funding approval from the legislature before mailing absentee ballot applications statewide.[8]

Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald denounced the bills as "outrageous and unnecessary and totally motivated by a desire to make it tougher to vote." He also indicated that he had directed his county law director to review the bills for possible legal action.[8]

The bipartisan Ohio Association of Election Officials has said that allowing individuals to both register and vote on the same day results in difficulties in properly validating voters.[8]

On May 1, 2014, the following plaintiffs brought a case challenging the reduction of early voting days against Secretary of State Jon Husted and Attorney General Mike DeWine in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio:[11]

2012 developments

The Supreme Court let the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit stand on October 16, 2012, in a one-sentence order. The Appeals Court ruled earlier that early voting must be offered to all voters if it is offered to the military, and the Supreme Court's decision finally put the issue to rest. This decision marked a victory for the Obama campaign, which sued to overturn the restrictions put into place by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.[12]

Previously, early voting had been restored during the last three days before the November 6 election for all Ohio citizens by a federal district court. From there, the decision was appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and finally to the Supreme Court.[13]

U.S. District Court Judge Peter C. Economus said, "This Court notes that restoring in-person early voting to all Ohio voters through the Monday before Election Day does not deprive [military] voters from early voting." He went on to say, "Instead, and more importantly, it places all Ohio voters on equal standing."[13]

The lawsuit was filed in response to a directive which allowed certain individuals, specifically military personnel and their families, to vote in the three days preceding the election, while disallowing all others.[13]

See also

External links

References