VOTE! We can’t emphasize enough how important it is for every adult American to cast an educated vote in our elections! Voting is one of our most basic and important rights. It truly makes a difference on the way our local government, state government, and federal government is run. Our voter’s guide covers information about registration and voting in Ohio, especially for voters in Central Ohio.
Listed below, you’ll find information about registering to vote, absentee voting by mail, early voting, and election info and resources.
We don’t care who you vote for…just vote!
Key Elections Dates for November 2020
General election voter registration deadline: Oct. 5, 2020
Early voting and mail-in voting begins: Oct. 6, 2020
Deadline to request absentee ballot: Oct. 31, 2020
Early voting and mail-in voting ends: Nov. 2, 2020
General election: Nov. 3, 2020
How to Register to Vote in Ohio
First things first, you need to make sure you’re registered to vote in Ohio, and that your mailing address is correct.
Registering to Vote is simple. Go to the Register to Vote tab on the VoteOhio.Gov website. This website part of the Ohio Secretary of State website. You need to register to vote 30 days before the election, so October 5, 2020 is the deadline to register to vote for the November 3, 2020 General Election.
If you don’t wish to register online, you can also get a voter registration form or register to vote at many places around Ohio. Some of the options include any of the 88 county boards of elections, Ohio BMV locations, public libraries, select county and state agencies, and more. Check here for full voter registration requirements and places you can register to vote. The registration must be received 30 days before the election you wish to vote in.
Changing name or address on your voter registration. If you have moved within Ohio, or changed your name, you will need to submit a new voter registration form. Ohio’s voter registration form also serves as a change of address and change of name form. It can be submitted through the mail or in person. Changes of name are required to be submitted by mail or in person. Changes of address only may be submitted on the Secretary of State’s Online Change of Address System at www.VoteOhio.gov.
You can also check your voter registration and find other important voting information at this link.
Declaring Political Affiliation in Ohio
Under Ohio election law, you declare your political party affiliation by requesting the ballot of a political party in a partisan primary election.
If you do not wish to affiliate with a political party in Ohio, you are considered to be an unaffiliated voter. An unaffiliated voter does not vote the ballot of a political party in a primary election. For example, unaffiliated voters do not vote in the primaries to choose who is going to run for President for the Democrat or Republican party, but they can vote for any of the candidates in the general election. An unaffiliated voter may vote the Official Questions & Issues Ballot in a primary election, if there is one for the voter’s precinct at the election.
Elections in Ohio
Elected offices of government have different terms lengths, so there aren’t elections for every office each year. Many federal, state, and local offices are elected every four years, including the U.S. president, governor of Ohio, and Ohio mayors. Ohio Supreme Court Justices are elected to six year terms.
U.S. Senate seats are elected every six years, while U.S. Representatives are every two years.
In the Ohio State legislature, Senators are elected every four years. Senators are elected for four year terms, staggered every two years such that half of the seats are contested at each election. Senators are limited to two consecutive terms. Ohio House of Representatives have two year terms, and in every even-numbered year, all the seats are up for re-election. Representatives are limited to four consecutive two-year elected terms.
How to Vote in Ohio
Absentee Voting by mail in Ohio
In order to vote absentee in Ohio (mail in your vote), your voter registration information must be up-to-date, and you must request an absentee ballot. You do not need a reason or excuse to vote absentee in Ohio. Once you return your application for absentee ballot, the absentee ballot will be mailed to you to complete.
You may use the application form prescribed by the Secretary of State (Form 11-A) or one provided to you by your county board of elections to apply for your absentee ballot. Send your request for an absentee ballot to your county board of elections. Board mailing addresses are available at OhioSoS.gov/boards.
Benefits of Absentee Voting by mail
- Vote early
- Vote when it’s convenient and comfortable. You won’t feel rushed to finish your ballot and can’t take your time researching and making your selections
- Do not have to vote in public if you have illness or health risks
- Avoid the chance of lines at the polls on Election Day
- Absentee ballots are the first votes counted on Election Night.
Submitting your absentee ballot
Once you have submitted your request for an absentee ballot and have received your ballot in the mail, complete it at your leisure – but don’t wait to long! Make sure you follow all directions for completions. To return your voted absentee ballot, send it by U.S. Mail, or deliver it in person to your county board of elections. There will be a locked drop box outside of each Board of Elections office in the 88 Ohio counties where you can return absentee ballot applications and absentee ballots, or you can turn it in during office hours.
The return envelope containing your marked ballot must either be received by your county board of elections prior to the close of the polls on Election Day, or postmarked no later than the day before the election and received by the board of elections no later than 10 days after the election.
Your absentee ballot must be received by your board of elections by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day OR be postmarked by the day before Election Day.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) estimates that it may take two to five days for your voted absentee ballot to be delivered to your board of elections by mail. It is your responsibility to make sure the ballot has enough postage.
If you have requested an absentee ballot and then decide to vote in person at your assigned polling place on Election Day, you must vote a provisional ballot. Do everything you can to vote a regular ballot. Cast a provisional ballot only if you have no other option.
Where to Vote: Early Voting in Ohio
If you don’t wish to use request an absentee ballot by mail, you can use early voting days and locations in order to cast your votes prior to Election Day. Early voting is still considered absentee voting, but you don’t have to register in advance for early voting in person.
Starting the day after the close of voter registration, all registered voters may request and vote an absentee ballot in person at their county board of elections or early voting center as designated by the county. In Ohio, all early voting is at the county Board of Elections offices, except in Lucas and Summit, which offer an alternative location.
Early voting allows for shorter lines to vote compared to Election Day. More convenient to vote when it works for you, including some evenings and weekends.
Early voting in Ohio begins on October 6, and includes the 2 Saturdays and Sundays, and the Monday before Election Day.
Scroll down for list of Central Ohio County Board of Elections locations, or click here for a list of all County Board of Elections in Ohio.
Where to Vote: Election Day Voting in Ohio
If you wish to vote in person on Election Day, you must cast your ballot in your precinct at your designated polling place between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
If you do not know where your designated precinct or polling place is located, please contact your county board of elections or click here to search for your polling place online. Your address determines your polling place.
Polls open from 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. If you plan to vote this way, make sure your work or school schedule will allow for voting within these times.
Potential Election Day concerns and voter registration issues
It’s important that you account for potential lines at the polls. While absentee voting alleviates some probability of long lines, there have been occasions around Columbus and around Ohio where lines were 3+ hours long due to large turnout and/or electrical or computer outages on Election Day. If machines are down at your polling place, you may complete a paper ballot.
Election Day lines will probably appear much longer than they actually are, as those in line will likely be expected to stay 6 feet apart. This may result in lines extending outside and down sidewalks. Be prepared for whatever weather is being thrown at us on Election Day. It could be snowing, raining, or 85 degrees.
Keep your place in line. As long as you are in line when the polls close, you are allowed to cast your ballot. If you leave the line, you may not be able to vote. If you are in line to vote when your polling place closes, and anyone tries to keep you from voting, contact the Department of Justice Civil Rights Department by phone (1-800-253-3931), email (email@example.com), or submit a complaint on their website.
Ask for a new ballot if you make a mistake.
Election boards must also allow curbside voting to anyone who is physically unable to enter a polling location. Voters who are unable to read or write may receive assistance from someone they bring with them, or with the assistance of 2 poll workers (one from each political party). See more details for voters with disabilities.
If a poll worker says your name is not on the list of registered voters, don’t leave!
- Ask poll worker to double check, and spell out your name.
- Confirm that you are at the correct polling place based on your address of residence. Ask the poll worker to check the statewide system or call the main election office to verify your polling place.
- You can also call 1-866-OUR-VOTE and ask for help verifying your proper polling place.
If you are registered to vote at a different polling location, you will need to travel to that location to cast a regular ballot. If your name cannot be found, or you can’t make it to the correct polling place, you can cast a provisional ballot. After Election Day, election officials must investigate whether you are qualified to vote and registered. If you are qualified and registered, they will count your provisional ballot.
Central Ohio County Board of Elections Offices
You can drop off you absentee ballot or vote early in-person at your county Board of Elections offices. See addresses and contact information. For information about ballot issues and candidates in Central Ohio, visit the website for your county elections department. Full voters guides are available closer to the election. See sample ballot for your county once they are made available.
1700 Morse Road
Columbus, OH 43229
P.O. Box 182111
Columbus, OH 43218-2111
Telephone: (614) 525-3100
2079 U.S. HWY 23 North
Delaware, OH 43015
PO Box 8006
Delaware, OH 43015-8006
Telephone: (740) 833-2080
1423 State Route 38 SE
London, OH 43140
Telephone: (740) 852-9424
Don Hill Administration Building
20 S. Second St.
Newark, OH 43055
Telephone: (740) 670-5080
835 East Fifth Street, Suite A
Marysville, OH 43040
Telephone: (937) 642-2836
141 W. Main St., Suite 800
Circleville, OH 43113
Telephone: (740) 474-1100
951 Liberty Dr.
Lancaster, OH 43130
Telephone: (740) 652-7000
104 East Sugar St.
Mt. Vernon, OH 43050
Telephone: (740) 393-6716
See other County Board of Elections here.
For more information about voting in Ohio, visit: https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/
Help us improve our voter guide!
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