You are encouraged to exercise your right to vote. In order to vote, you must be registered to vote. You must register to vote at least 30 days before the election. This FAQ tells you if you are eligible to vote and how to register to vote. Some of the deadlines differ if you are overseas and in the military. For more information, see Ohio Military Votes from the Ohio Secretary of State website.
Last reviewed/updated September 27, 2011
Am I eligible to vote?
You are eligible to vote in Ohio if:
- you are a U.S. citizen;
- 18 years old or older, including if you will be 18 by election day;
- you live in Ohio for at least 30 days before the election;
- you are not currently in jail for conviction of a felony; and
- you have not been found incompetent to vote through a specific finding and order of a probate judge regarding voting. A general finding of incompetency and guardianship does not take away the right to vote. An order must state that a person is not competent to vote. If it does not, the person can vote.
How do I apply to register to vote?
You may obtain a registration form and register to vote in any of these places:
- The Office of the Ohio Secretary of State
- County board of elections
- Public high schools or vocational schools
- Any deputy registrar of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles
- Public libraries
- County treasurers' offices
- Offices of designated agencies, including the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Mental Health, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, or the office of any state-assisted college or university responsible for providing assistance to students with disabilities.
You can also register by mail. Your registration must be postmarked by 30 days before the election. You can print a voter registration application online from the Ohio Secretary of State's web site. See: Voter Registration Form You can also have someone return the completed form in person on your behalf to the county board of elections or the Secretary of State's office, but this person must do so by the earlier of one of the following:
- within 10 days of your completion of the registration form, or
- the voter registration deadline.
If you need help to register, you can ask for assistance from your case manager, social worker, advocate, or other human services staff person.
What information do I need to fill out the voter registration application?
If you apply in person, you must provide:
- Your name, address, county where you live, and date of birth.
- Your signature or legal mark. Your legal mark can be made by using an assistive or mechanical device.
- Either your Ohio Driver's License number or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. If you do not have a Driver's License or Social Security number, bring an alternative document that has your name and address: current valid photo identification card, military identification, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or government document. These documents should be accepted as proof of identity for the purposes of registering to vote.
If you register by mail and do not have a Driver's License or Social Security number, enclose a copy of one of the following that has your name and address: current valid photo identification card, military identification, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or government document.
How do I register to vote if I don't have a home address?
- You can give the address of a shelter if you use it regularly.
- You can give another address, for example, the address of a friend or family member, if you stay there regularly.
- The address you give will be the place that the county Board of Elections will send you mail.
What happens after I submit my application?
The county board of elections must register you to vote no later than 20 business days after receiving your application. The board must promptly mail a notice to the address on your application telling you that:
- you are registered to vote,
- where you will vote, and
- identification you need to bring with you on election day.
If the board does not accept your application to vote, it must immediately send you mail telling you:
- why your application was rejected, and
- ask you to provide the information the board needs to complete your application.
If you do not receive any notice, contact your county board of elections before Election Day and ask about your application.
What if I move or change my name after I have registered to vote?
If you are already registered to vote and have moved within Ohio or changed your name it is your responsibility to update this information by submitting a new voter registration form or change of address form for your new residence. The voter registration form with your name and /or address change can be submitted by mail to the Secretary of State's office or county board of elections, or in person to one of the entities listed above. It is best to submit the form no later than 30 days prior to the election in order to ensure that you are able to vote a regular ballot.
If you have problems registering to vote
If you think you are eligible to vote and are having problems, call the Disability Rights Ohio Intake Department at (voice) 614-466-7264 or 1-800-282-9181; (TTY) 614-728-2553 or 1-800-858-3542.