Common Questions: Registered voters, voters with criminal records, and getting rides to the polls

October 23, 2018 by Stacy Brannan-Smith / voting

A young woman talks on her phone as she gets a ride on a bus

Election Day is just two weeks away! Early voting is underway, and you can even vote on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. this weekend. Check the full schedule of early, in-person voting hours and get more information about voting by mail in our recent early voting blog.

Continuing with our voting series, this week we are answering three more common questions:

I have voted before. Did I have to register again to vote this time?

Once you have registered to vote, you don't have to register again if you continue to vote regularly. If you are not sure if you are still registered, you can check here. In the past, the Ohio Secretary of State has purged some voters from the rolls if they did not vote within two years AND did not either respond to a mailed notice asking them to verify their address or vote again in the next four years. However, no such purges were expected to be carried out this year.

Can I vote if I have a criminal record?

Yes. In Ohio, only people who are currently incarcerated for a felony aren't allowed to vote. That means you CAN vote if you are currently incarcerated for a misdemeanor or if you have a misdemeanor or felony conviction on your record, even if you are on probation or parole. There is one exception: People who have been convicted TWICE for violating Ohio's election laws are permanently barred from voting, but this situation is very rare.

If you have served time for a felony conviction, you do have to register to vote again once you are released. If you aren't sure if you are still registered, check here. You can find more information about voting with a criminal record and voting in jail in the ACLU Ohio Vote Center.

I want to vote in person, but I need a ride to the polls. Can I get some help with transportation?

Yes, you do have some options if you need help with transportation to the polls.

  • Talk to your most reliable family members, friends, caregivers and advocates about taking you to vote early or on Election Day. Make a plan in advance!
  • Your Center for Independent Living (CIL) may have resources. Look up your local CIL here.
  • The Democratic and Republican parties will often provide transportation for voters:
    • Find contact information for your county Democratic Party office online or call 614-221-6563
    • Find contact information for your county Republican Party office online or call 614-228-2481
  • Voters in Athens, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, Montgomery, Summit, Trumbull or Mahoning counties can use the Rides to the Polls service organized by the League of Women Voters of Ohio, Ohio Votes and their local partners to request a ride between now and Election Day.
  • On Election Day, November 6, Uber is offering free rides to the polls and Lyft is offering half-price rides, with some free rides available in partnership with Voto Latino, local Urban League affiliates and the National Federation of the Blind.

If you really aren't sure how you will get to the polls, you may want to consider voting by mail. Just make sure your absentee ballot is postmarked on or before November 5 or it is dropped off to your county board of elections in person before polls close at 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

Need more help?

Disability Rights Ohio will operate our Voter Hotline at 800-282-9181 from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, November 6. Our advocates and attorneys will be ready to answer your voting-related questions or provide help if your voting rights are being violated. Until then, you can always contact our intake department.

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