Federal laws protect the right of people with disabilities to vote. You can vote on Election Day if you are already registered to vote in Ohio and have not voted early. You can make sure that you are registered by checking the Secretary of State's website in the Check Your Voter Registration section, and be sure about your voting location by checking the Secretary of State's website in the Find Your Polling Location section or by contacting your county board of elections.
Voting in person
If you are voting in person you can vote a regular ballot if you go to your voting location with the proper identification. Proper identification can include:
- driver's license, state identification card, or other valid photo identification; or
- military identification, copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or another government document.
You cannot use a notice of election mailed by the board of elections, or a notice of voter registration mailed by the board of election as identification.
The identification you use should show your current address. If a driver's license or state identification card does not show your current address, it is still valid and you can vote a regular ballot. You must make sure that you are at the polling location that corresponds to your current address.
If you cannot bring any of these forms of identification, you will be asked to provide the last four digits of your social security number and you'll be required to vote by provisional ballot.
Can I vote if someone challenges my right to vote?
Yes. Official poll workers can question or challenge your right to vote. Poll workers can only question you on limited issues, such as where you live, your age or your citizenship. No one can question or challenge you solely because of a disability, or solely because you have a guardian.
The Secretary of State provided a directive telling poll workers they can not challenge a voter on Election Day because state computer records don't match the proper identification voters gave when they registered to vote or provide on Election Day. Problems with mismatched government records (Social Security, Motor Vehicle, Voter Registration) are not a reason to deny people's right to vote. Read the Secretary of State Directive 2010-69, Election Day Voter Challenges Based Upon a Failure to Match Information on the Statewide Voter Registration Database (PDF file).
Call Disability Rights Ohio, 1-800-282-9181 or TTY 1-800-858-3542, if you are denied your right to vote.
What do I do if a poll worker won't let me vote?
If a poll worker won't let you vote or sign the registered voters book because of a disability, or because of your answer to a question, do not leave without voting. You still have the right to vote by provisional ballot. However, if you are not at the correct polling location your provisional ballot will not be counted. You should instead go to the correct polling location and cast a ballot.
What is a provisional ballot?
A provisional ballot is used to record a vote when there is some question about a voter's eligibility. A provisional ballot is counted after Election Day when the county board of elections is sure that person is eligible to vote.
Some examples of situations in which a voter will receive a provisional ballot:
- the voter's name does not appear on the official poll list for the election;
- proper identification is not given at the polling location;
- the voter's signature does not match the signature on his or her registration form;
- the voter had already asked for an absentee ballot or a voter's eligibility to vote is challenged before the election or by a judge of elections at the polling place (reasons for a challenge to one's eligibility to vote include citizenship, residency, and age, but not merely because a person has a disability).
If a voter is informed that he or she cannot vote for some reason, he or she should nevertheless ask for a provisional ballot, although if he or she is at the wrong precinct or polling location, he or she should definitely go to the correct precinct and polling location. A provisional ballot will not be counted if the person is at the wrong polling location.
Generally, a voter who votes by provisional ballot need not provide additional information in the future if proof of identity was provided; but if proof of identity or the last 4 digits of one’s Social Security number was not provided, then he or she must go to the county board of elections in person and provide the necessary identification or information no later than 10 days after the election is held.
If I am challenged by a poll worker, how can I prove I am an eligible voter?
If you vote a provisional ballot, you must provide proof that you are an eligible voter. You can provide this proof by:
- signing an Affirmation Form that states you are eligible to vote in Ohio; or
- going to your county board of elections, within ten days of the election, and providing accepted identification, or the last four digits of your Social Security number. You can also sign the Affirmation Form at the board.
Call Disability Rights Ohio if your right to vote is denied
If you are denied the right to vote, call the Disability Rights Ohio Intake Department at 1-800-282-9181 or TTY 1-800-858-3542.
Disability Rights Ohio is designated under federal law as the system to protect and advocate the rights of people with disabilities and as the Client Assistance Program under the Rehabilitation Act. The mission of Disability Rights Ohio is to protect and advocate, in partnership with people with disabilities, for their human, civil and legal rights.