Election FYI

Does everyone who wants to vote in Ohio have to be registered to

vote here?


How do I know whether I am qualifi ed to register and to vote in


You are qualifi ed to register to vote in Ohio if you meet all the

following requirements:

1. You are a citizen of the United States.

2. You will be at least 18 years old on or before the day of the

general election.

3. You will be a resident of Ohio for at least 30 days

immediately before the election in which you want to vote.

4. You are not incarcerated (in prison) for a felony

conviction under the laws of this state, another state or the

United States.

5. You have not been declared incompetent for voting

purposes by a probate court.

6. You have not been permanently disfranchised for violations

of the election laws.

You are eligible to vote in elections conducted in your voting

precinct more than 30 consecutive days after you are properly

registered to vote in this state.

How is voting residency determined?

Ohio election offi cials use rules set forth in law (R.C. 3503.02) to

determine a person's qualifying voting address. Under those rules,

your voting residence is the place in which your habitation is fi xed

and to which, whenever you are absent, you intend to return. You

must intend your residence in the county to be permanent, not

temporary. You will not lose your voting residency in Ohio if you

leave temporarily and intend to return, unless you are absent from

the state for four consecutive years.

(Exception: You will not lose your residency after four years if your

absence from Ohio is due to your employment with the government

of this state or the United States, including military service, unless

you vote in, or permanently move to, another state.)

If you do not have a fi xed place of habitation, but are a consistent or

regular inhabitant of a shelter or other location to which you

intend to return, you may use that shelter or other location as your

residence for purposes of registering to vote.

May a student register and vote from the student's school

address in Ohio?

Yes, a student may vote using the student's Ohio school

residence address if both:

1. the school residence is the place in which the student's

habitation is fi xed and to which, whenever the student is

absent, the student intends to return, and

2. the student intends to reside permanently in the Ohio

county in which the school residence address is located.

How can I obtain an Ohio voter registration application?

You may obtain a form in person, and register in person, at any of

the following locations:

  • The offi ce of the Secretary of State or any of the 88 county boards of elections.
  • The offi ce of any deputy registrar of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
  • Offices of designated agencies that provide public assistance or disability programs.
  • Public libraries.
  • Public high schools or vocational schools.
  • County treasurers' offices.

You also may ask a county board of elections or the Secretary of

State's office to mail a registration form to you. If you have Internet

access, you may download a form from the Secretary of State's

Where can I register to vote?

You can register to vote in person at the locations listed above.

When must I register?

Ohio has a 30-day voter registration requirement. If you register

to vote by mail, your properly completed and signed registration

application may be mailed to any of the afore mentioned locations,

except the offi ces of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles or its deputy

registrars, and must be postmarked not later than the 30th day

before the fi rst election in which you want to vote.

If you do not submit your registration application by mail, you

must deliver the form to a county board of elections, the offi ce of

the Secretary of State, a public library, high school or vocational

school, county treasurer's offi ce or designated agency not later than

the registration deadline for the fi rst election in which you want to

vote. If you are entrusting the delivery of your completed form to

another person, that person must deliver your registration form to a

county board of elections or the Secretary of State's offi ce.

What if I am unable to sign my voter registration form or other

election documents?

Ohio law requires a person to sign or affi x a signature to the voter

registration application. "Sign" or "signature" means your written,

cursive-style legal mark written in your own handwriting.

However, if you do not use a cursive-style legal mark in your

regular business and legal affairs, "sign" or "signature" means your

other legal mark that you use in your regular business and legal

affairs that is written in your own handwriting.

  • If you are unable to sign your own name, make an "X," if possible, on the application signature line and have the person who witnessed your making that mark place his/her name and address beneath the signature line.
  • If you are unable to make an "X," you must indicate in some manner that you want to register to vote. The person registering you must sign the form and attest that you indicated that you wanted to register to vote.
  • If (a) by reason of disability you are unable to physically sign your name or affix your mark to the application, and (b) you have appointed an attorney-in-fact pursuant to section 3501.382 of the Revised Code of Ohio, your attorney-in-fact may sign it on your behalf, at your direction and in your presence.

What if I change my address or name after registering to vote in


If you are an Ohio voter who has moved within this state and/or

changed your name, you must report the change by delivering a

properly completed form, prescribed by the Secretary of State,

to any of the following offi ces: the Secretary of State, any board

of elections, a public high school or vocational school, a public

library, the offi ce of the county treasurer, any offi ce of the registrar

or deputy registrar of motor vehicles, or the state or local offi ce of a

designated agency.

You may obtain a change of residence and/or name form from the

offi ces listed above, and from the probate court and the court of

common pleas of any Ohio county.

Your completed form may be delivered in person to any of the

offi ces listed above by yourself or by someone else on your behalf.

If you return your completed form by mail, state law requires that

you send it only to: the Secretary of State, a board of elections, a

public high school or vocational school, public library, a county

treasurer's offi ce, or an offi ce of a designated agency.

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. If the form is incomplete, the board will send you a

notice of the information necessary to update your registration. If

your valid change form is received or postmarked at least 29 days

before an election, you will be eligible to vote a regular (rather

than a provisional) ballot at that election, either absentee or at your

assigned precinct polling place.

You also may update your registration by fi ling a change of

residence and/or name form during the 28 days immediately before,

or on the day of, an election. This procedure is discussed under

"Voting by Provisional Ballot" in the "Voting Procedures" section

of this publication.

Do I declare my political party affi liation when I register?

No. Under Ohio law, your political party affiliation is determined

by the ballot you cast in a partisan primary election.

May I vote if I have been convicted of a crime?

As noted under "VOTER REGISTRATION," a person currently

serving time in prison for a felony conviction cannot register to

vote or vote. Additionally, a person who has twice been

convicted of a violation of the elections laws is permanently barred

from voting in Ohio. An otherwise qualifi ed person convicted of a

misdemeanor may vote, and one convicted of a felony may register

and vote while on probation or parole or after completing his or her


What happens after I submit my voter registration


If the board of elections accepts your voter registration

application, the board must register you to vote not later than 20

business days after receiving your application and promptly mail

a notice to your voting residence address confi rming that you are

registered to vote, identifying your voting precinct and the

location of your precinct polling place, and stating the

identifi cation requirements for voting.

If the board does not accept your registration application, it will

immediately mail you a notice stating why your application was

rejected and requesting you to provide whatever information or

verifi cation is necessary to complete your application.

If you do not receive a notice that your registration was accepted

or rejected, contact your county board of elections before Election

Day to determine if the board received your application.

Can I check my voter information online?

Yes. You may check your voter information at www.sos.state.oh.us.

If you perform a Voter Information search and the information you

registered is returned, then your voter registration form has been

processed by your county board of elections. If your information

is not returned in the search, you may want to contact your county

board of elections to check on the status of your registration. You

may also be able to check through your county board of elections'

Web site, although not all county boards have a link to the