Following the passage of HB 458 in January, Ohio’s strict voter ID law, many voters have been thrust into chaos and confusion about what exactly they need to cast their ballot, and how to ensure their vote is counted. Specifically, for Ohio higher education students, the rules can appear vague depending on if someone is an in-state or out-of-state student.
Ohio is home to 14 four-year public universities and more than 50 private colleges and universities, in addition to numerous community and technical colleges. With such a bustling academic community across the state, we’re breaking down how to vote as a student in any election.
Registering to Vote
To participate in Ohio’s election process, you must be registered to vote at your address within the state. This means that if you a college or higher education student, your voter registration needs to be your house, apartment, or on-campus housing address. Register to vote or check your voter registration here.
Overview: Acceptable Identifications
Voting-by-Mail: If you are voting by mail, you can request an absentee ballot from the Secretary of State’s Office at VoteOhio.gov. To request a ballot, you only need either:
- The last four digits of your Social Security Number OR
- Your Ohio driver’s license number.
Voting In-Person: Whether you are voting early or on Election Day, you must have an unexpired photo ID to cast your ballot. Acceptable photo IDs include:
- An Ohio driver’s license
- An Ohio-issued state identification card
- A U.S. or state military ID
- A U.S. passport
Voting as an IN-STATE Higher Education Student
As an in-state college student, voting either by mail or in-person are accessible options. If you do not have an Ohio photo ID, but would like one, all Ohio residents 17+ are eligible to receive a free, Ohio state-issued ID at their local BMV.
Voting as an OUT-OF-STATE Higher Education Student
For out-of-state college students, voting by mail is the recommended option, as you can use the last four digits of your SSN to request an absentee ballot. Using an unexpired passport or U.S. military ID are also options for those who do not have an Ohio state ID.
Out-of-state students may purchase an Ohio state-issued ID. However, purchasing a state ID would cause a student’s home state driver’s license to be revoked.
For answers to all of your voting questions visit the ACLU of Ohio Vote Center.
REMINDER: The information in this blog is geared towards college and higher education students, and only pertains to those who are 18 or older, U.S. citizens, and currently registered to vote in Ohio.