Three-Step Guide to Voting

ACLU of Ohio Vote Center

Step 1: Registration

Highway sign with text: Register - Vote 19

You must be registered at least 30 days before Election Day in order to vote.

Confirm your registration and correct address.

Update your Ohio voting address, 30 days prior to an election.

Register to vote

  • Download the registration form and mail it in.
  • Go in-person to the board of elections, Ohio BMV offices, public high schools or libraries.
  • Register to vote online.

Step 2: Identification

Make sure you have an acceptable form of ID. Do not wait until the last minute. You must have ONE of the following:

  • An unexpired driver’s license or state-issued ID (may have old address)
  • Other government ID that is unexpired and shows your current address (not a student ID card of Passport)
  • U.S. military ID card, with your name and photo (address is not required)
  • Identification that shows your name and present address which could include a current (within last 12 months) cell phone bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document, such as a Social Security or Ohio Job and Family Services benefit letter.
Voting Booths

Step 3: Decide When and Where to Vote

You can vote in one of three ways:

1) Mail-in absentee ballot.
Submit an absentee ballot request form to your local board of elections. In the meantime, visit their website to check out a sample ballot. Absentee ballots are available beginning 35 days before Election Day. Follow instructions carefully, and mail your completed ballot as early as possible. Completed absentee ballots must be received by the close of polls on Election Day, if hand delivered. Mailed-in ballots must be postmarked no later than midnight on Election Day. For Ohio voters in the military or who are overseas, mail-in voting begins 45 days before Election Day, and the absentee ballots must be received no later than 10 days after Election Day.

2) Early in-person.
You may go to your county’s Board of Elections Office to cast a ballot in-person, beginning the day after the close of voter registration and going most days up until the day before Election Day. Be sure to check the official schedule for exact dates and times. (Note: This issue was previously litigated by the ACLU of Ohio, resulting in a favorable settlement agreement. The agreement expired at the end of 2018.)

Dropping ballot into ballot box

3) In-person on Election Day.
Precincts are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. By law, you have the right to vote if you are in line at the polling place when the polls close. You need to vote in the correct precinct. Find your polling location. Visit the website of your board of elections to check out a sample ballot before you go to vote.

*Under federal law, all limited English proficiency voters throughout the U.S. may obtain assistance in voting from a person of their choice, as long as this person is not the voter’s employer, or an agent of the employer or of the voter’s union.

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