Have you moved recently? Be sure to update your voter registration
August 28, 2018 by DRO Communications Specialist Stacy Brannan-Smith and DRO Attorney Kevin Truitt / voting
Election Day is Tuesday, November 6, 2018, and, in Ohio, many important statewide and local issues and races will be on the ballot, including elections for Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, all of Ohio’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and one U.S. Senate seat. The results from this election will have an impact on many important policy issues for people with disabilities. From Medicaid expansion to special education, our elected officials determine the future for critical programs and initiatives.
To vote this November, you must be registered by October 9 – just 42 days from today. If it’s been a while since you last voted, it’s a good idea to check to make sure that you are still registered. If you need to register (or re-register), you can still use a paper form, but now Ohio also has a convenient online registration form. To register online, you need to provide:
- Your Ohio driver’s license or Ohio identification card number
- Your name
- Your date of birth
- Your address, and
- The last four digits of your Social Security number
If you’ve moved since you last voted, you can use the same form to update the address on your registration. Why is it important to update your voter registration?
Your current address determines the precinct you vote in and your designated polling place. If you are voting in person on Election Day, you must be at the correct polling location or your vote (even if it’s a provisional ballot) will not count.
Your current address also determines what you see on your ballot. There may even be things on your ballot that only your neighborhood is voting on. Updating your address on your voter registration ensures that you are voting for the issues and political offices on the ballot in the specific place where you live.
Sometimes, your county board of elections might move your polling location – the place where you go to vote on Election Day. This could be because of unexpected circumstances at your old voting location or because the building is not accessible. If your polling location will be changing, your county board of elections will send you a card in the mail to notify you. Updating your address on your voter registration will ensure you get these important notices. (You can also check the location of your polling location online or by calling your county board of elections.)
Some people prefer to vote early, by mail – a process called absentee voting – but the Secretary of State expects your voting registration information to be updated before you can request an absentee ballot. In even-numbered years, like 2018, the Ohio Secretary of State may even send absentee ballot application forms to all registered voters. Updating your address on your voter registration allows you to vote early, if you choose, from the comfort of your own home. And starting in this year’s general election there will be a new remote absentee ballot marking tool available for people with vision impairments and other print disabilities. Stay tuned for more information about this exciting new tool.
What happens if you don’t update your registration?
If you are a registered voter but you didn’t update your address before the deadline, you can still vote provisionally, but you must make sure you are at the polling location for your current address. A provisional ballot allows you to vote on the same things as a standard ballot, but it gives election officials time to verify that you are an eligible voter. We will also address the details of provisional voting in an upcoming blog.