All voters must have identification with them when they vote. Acceptable forms of ID include one of the following:
- Current and valid photo identification (Ohio driver’s license, state ID card, government ID) showing your name and address (current address not required for driver’s license or state ID card);
- Military identification showing your name (address not required); or
- A copy of a current utility bill, cell phone bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document showing your name and current address.
If you do not provide one of these documents at the polling place, you will still be able to vote a provisional ballot (see below). You will then be expected to provide identification to the Board of Elections within the 10 days following Election Day. If you do not have any of the above forms of identification, including a Social Security number, you will still be able to vote a provisional ballot by signing an affirmation statement swearing to your identity under penalty of election falsification and by casting a provisional ballot.
If you are not familiar with the type of voting machine used where you vote, the League of Women Voters recommends that you review the process of using the machine before Election Day. Learn more about voting machines used in your county.
If your eligibility to vote is in question on Election Day, you can use a provisional ballot to cast your vote. No one should be turned away from a polling place without being given the opportunity to vote by provisional ballot. Once election officials can verify your eligibility, the provisional ballot is counted just like any other ballot.
A provisional ballot may be issued if:
- You recently changed your address or your name and did not update your voter registration.
- Your name does not appear on the official poll list.
- You cannot or do not provide proof of identity (a current, valid photo identification card; military identification; or copy of a utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or government document showing your name and current address).
- The poll list or signature book indicates that you requested an absentee ballot.
- The poll list or signature book indicates that mailings have been returned undeliverable.
- Your signature does not match the signature on your registration form.
- Your eligibility to cast a ballot has been challenged by the precinct officers.
If your eligibility is questioned, the League of Women Voters recommends that you cast a provisional ballot rather than leaving the polling place without casting a regular ballot. However, be sure that you are in the correct precinct polling place; if you vote in the wrong one, your vote will not be counted. Read more about provisional ballots and how to follow up on your vote.
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- You must be at least 18 by the general election and a registered voter (17-year-olds are eligible to serve through the Youth at the Booth program);
- You must be registered to vote in the county in which you plan to work; and
- You have not been convicted of a felony (which has not been reversed, expunged, or pardoned).
Contact your local Board of Elections to apply. See Voting Links for a list of central Ohio boards of elections.
Under a recent Ohio law, anyone may vote before Election Day using a mail-in form. To do this, you must request an absentee ballot.
- Learn about absentee voting options. Different rules apply if you are an active-duty member of Ohio’s organized militia, an active-duty member of the armed services, a U.S. citizen living outside the U.S., or a member of the uniformed services stationed outside Ohio. A new service is available for these voters.
- Ask for an absentee ballot request form by phone from your Board of Elections. Franklin County residents should call (614) 462-3100; see Voting Links for other central Ohio boards of elections.
- Pick up an absentee ballot request form at your Board of Elections office.
Fill out the absentee ballot request form and return it to your Board of Elections. The request form must be received by your county Board of Elections office by mail no later than noon on the Saturday before the election. Your absentee ballot will be mailed to you. Absentee ballots generally become available 35 days before each election (25 days before the presidential primary). Unless you are living outside the United States, absentee ballots must be returned by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
Under a recent Ohio law, you may vote in person before Election Day at your county Board of Elections using an absentee ballot without having to give any reason for voting absentee. Simply go to the county office in person during regular business hours no later than the day before the election; you must vote your absentee ballot while you are there.
See Voting Links for a list of central Ohio Boards of Elections. The League of Women Voters suggests that you take photo identification with you, even though ID is not explicitly required by law.
It is also possible to register and vote in one visit to the Board of Elections from the 35th to the 30th day before Election Day. (This period is the brief overlap between when absentee ballots are issued and when registration closes for the upcoming election.)
- Your Rights as a Voter
- Voter Responsibilities Brochure
- Citizen Checklist for Voting
- Exercise Your Right To Vote!
- Be Sure Your Vote Counts