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WHAT IT IS 

PLAN YOUR VOTE

REGISTER TO VOTE OR CHECK YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION

Register to vote

LEARN ABOUT EARLY VOTING OPTIONS

Whether it's your first time or your 50th, having a plan is always the way to go.

Here's your checklist to get you ready to vote.

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To register for the first time in Ohio

  • Check the voter registration deadline for the next election: in Ohio, it's 30 days before the next election​

  • To register online, you'll need to provide your

    • Ohio driver’s license or Ohio identification card number: must be issued by the Ohio BMV

    • Name

    • Date of Birth

    • Address: must be current

    • Last four digits of your Social Security number

  • Go here to register

OR

  • Register by mail: this is what to do if you don't have an Ohio ID card ​

    • You'll need to provide your

      • Last 4 digits of your social security number

      • ​Current address

  • Print the voter application: find it here

    • Fill everything out

    • Put application in an envelope, add postage, and mail to your county Board of Elections

      • Look up your Board of Elections here

        • Check back in about 10 days to make sure you're registered- check here

        • Don't see your name? Reach out to your county Board of Elections to see why.

Need to update your voting address? Same process! Go here to get started.

In Ohio, we have three ways to vote:

There's no right way for everyone, so here's quick explainer of the differences, and who each way might best for.

VOTING BY MAIL

WHAT IT IS 

HOW TO DO IT

  1. REQUEST YOUR BALLOT ONLINE

  • Use either your Ohio driver's license, BMV-issued Ohio state ID ​OR the last 4 digits of your social security number

    • IMPORTANT- you don't need to show anyone your ID, just use those numbers​ on your application

  • Print out your application

  • Sign it at the bottom

  • Put it in an envelope with a stamp on it, and get it in the mail ASAP

 2. RECEIVE YOUR BALLOT IN THE MAIL

  • Fill out your ballot using a blue or black pen

  • Put your ballot in the return envelope- do not remove the numbered stub attached to your ballot

  • Print your name and address on the outside of the envelope 

  • Write the last 4 digits of your Social Security number OR your Oho driver's license or state ID card number

  • Sign your name on the outside of your envelope

3.  RETURN YOUR BALLOT

  • By mail: Make sure it has the right postage

    • PRO-TIP: use 1 USPS First Class 
    • IMPORTANT: Must be postmarked by the day BEFORE the election OR
  • ​OR deliver in person: take your ballot to your county Board of Elections and return it inside or at the outside dropbox

IMPORTANT: If you need help returning your ballot, only certain family members are legally allowed to provide that help

  • This includes the voter’s spouse, father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandfather, grandmother, brother, or sister of the whole or half blood, or the son, daughter, adopting parent, adopted child, stepparent, stepchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece

  • Assistance in returning your ballot from anyone outside of these exceptions is a felony under Ohio law

GREAT IF YOU

  • Have an unpredictable schedule

  • Don't feel confident about your transportation

  • Sometimes feel anxious or pressured in the voting booth

  • Want to take your time voting

WE ESPECIALLY RECOMMEND THIS IF YOU

  • Are an out-of-state college student

  • Know you will be out of town during voting days

  • Do not have an Ohio driver's license or one of the other accepted photo IDs

  • Are unable to get to a polling location during the election cycle

  • Have mobility concerns (again, it's important to make sure no one physically assists you in returning your ballot outside of the list of family members noted above)
     

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Research candidates

RESEARCH CANDIDATES & ISSUES

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Find out what will be on your ballot

BE INFORMED ABOUT THE CANDIDATES, OFFICES,
AND ISSUES ON THE BALLOT.

FIND OUT WHAT WILL BE ON YOUR BALLOT

  • You can find this on your county Board of Elections site as soon as the ballot has been finalized, or at the Ohio Secretary of State site here.

GET INFORMATION ABOUT THE CANDIDATES & ISSUES ON THE BALLOT

  • Research and collect information about the candidates

  • Read their positions on their campaign websites, watch media coverage, review online discussions

  • Look at what kind of relevant experience they have

  • Some good sources include:  

    • VOTE411voter guide with candidate stances & issue explanations

    • Candidate endorsements by individuals, organizations, and news outlets 

    • Candidates’ speeches 

    • Candidate debates 

    • Online candidate forums and town hall events 

    • Incumbents' voting history

  • NOTE:

    • Beware of political ads, mailers, and what you see on social media

    • Be sure to check your sources for credibility and to see if they have their own agendas

TALK TO PEOPLE

  • Talk to people whose opinion
     and experience you respect

  • Talk to people who have different perspectives than you do

  • Talk to people from communities that would be especially impacted by the election of a particular candidate or issue

EVALUATE WHAT YOU'VE LEARNED

  • How does it line up with your beliefs? Your values?

  • ​Do the candidates, or the people promoting or opposing the issue, have a good reputation? Do they have a good track record in other things they've done?

MAKE A LIST

  • Put down the names of all of the candidates & issue positions you've chosen

OR

  • Get a sample ballot from the Ohio Secretary of State and fill in the names of candidates you've chosen and/or the issue positions you've decided on

  • Take the list with you when you go to vote

Talk to people
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DECIDE THE BEST VOTING METHOD FOR YOU: 3 OPTIONS

Decide the best voting method
Decide the voting method that works best fo you

A way to vote without physically going to a public polling place.
A paper ballot is mailed to your home ahead of
Election Day, you fill it out according to how you want to vote, and send your completed ballot back
to your county Board of Elections. 
Some people call this absentee voting, but the main thing is that this is how to vote by mail.

About a month before Election Day, voters have the opportunity to vote at their county Board of Elections. It's the same process as Election Day voting, except for the location and the expanded voting schedule.  

EARLY IN PERSON VOTING

WHAT IT IS

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HOW TO DO IT

GREAT IF YOU

  • Have an unpredictable schedule​

  • Like to volunteer or Election Day or are a poll worker

  • Will be out of town or working on Election Day

  • Want to get voting over with

VOTING ON ELECTION DAY

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This is the traditional way Americans have voted, and still the most popular method. Voters go to the polling location assigned to them by their county Board of Elections, which is close to the voter's residence.  
 

HOW TO DO IT

  • Find your polling location: look it up here

  • Grab your ID: here are the accepted forms 

GREAT IF YOU

  • Like the tradition of Election Day

  • Feel confident that your schedule won't change at the last minute

  • Have reliable transportation 

  • Have the required ID

  • Like sharing the voting experience with your neighbors

  • Like voting close to home

Voting on Election Day
Early in-person voting
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VOTE! THEN SPREAD THE WORD

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YOU DID IT!
YOU ARE NOW A DEMOCRACY HERO.
NOW SPREAD THE WORD- TELL THE WORLD THAT YOU ARE A  VOTER. SHARE YOUR VOTER STATUS ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY ABOUT VOTING.

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