There’s a lot on the ballot Nov. 8: all Ohio statewide offices, three state supreme court seats, all 15 U.S. House seats and one U.S. Senate seat, all 99 Ohio House districts and half of the Ohio Senate, state school board seats, plus two constitutional amendments. On the local level, Ohioans will vote for county commissioners, auditors and judges, plus numerous local tax levies.
Here is what you need to know about registering to vote, applying for an absentee ballot, voting early in-person and voting at the polls on Election Day.
How to register to vote: You can register online by visiting VoteOhio.gov. Or you can download an application, print it and mail it to your county board of elections. People can also register in person at their county board of elections office, libraries, public offices, driver’s license bureaus and public high schools.
When to register to vote: To vote in the Nov. 8 election, you must be registered by Oct. 11. That day boards of election offices will be open until 9 p.m.
Who can register to vote: U.S. citizens, at least 18 years old on or before the next general election, and a resident of Ohio for at least 30 days before the election.
Should I check my voter registration? Yes. You can do so here: https://voterlookup.ohiosos.gov/voterlookup.aspx
Documents needed to register online: Ohio driver’s license or state ID with number; name; date of birth; address; last four digits of your Social Security number.
How can I request an absentee ballot? Ohio law doesn’t allow for making the requests online or by email. You can find the application form here: https://www.ohiosos.gov/publications/#abr Print it, fill it out and mail it to your county board of elections. If you don’t have a printer, watch your mailbox — the Ohio Secretary of State mailed absentee ballot applications to all registered voters around Labor Day, so they should have arrived by now.
When can I make that request? Any time between now and noon Nov. 5, when applications must be turned in at county boards of elections. But officials warn that Ohio’s absentee ballot application deadline does not allow enough time for the U.S. Postal Service to carry the application to the board of elections, the ballots back to voters, and then the voted ballots back to the board. The advice is do not procrastinate.
Do I need a reason to vote absentee? No, not in Ohio.
When will the ballot be sent to me? Ballots will be mailed starting Oct. 12 when Ohio’s 28 days of early voting starts. The later you apply, the later it’ll arrive.
Do I have to pay for postage? Yes. At this point, the state of Ohio is not providing postage-paid envelopes.
When do I have to return it? Absentee ballots returned by a method other than U.S. mail, such as being delivered in-person must arrive by the time polls close on Election Day. Mailed ballots must be postmarked no later than Nov. 7 and received by the board of elections no later than 10 days after Election Day. Each board will have a secure drop box for ballots.
Can I ask someone else to take my ballot to the board of elections? Only the voter or their immediate family can drop off ballots in Ohio.
Can I track my application and ballot? Yes. https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/toolkit/ballot-tracking/
What if I want to vote early in-person? Ohio has 28 days of early in-person voting at county boards of elections. In-person early voting will be available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, from Oct. 12 through Oct. 28; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 31 through Nov. 4; and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 7.
Will the polls be open for in-person voting on Election Day? Yes, polls will be open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8.
What identification do I need to vote early in-person or on Election Day? An unexpired drivers license or state ID card or mail such as a utility bill, paycheck, government check or bank statement showing your current address. Here is a full list of acceptable forms of ID: https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/id-requirements/
What if I forget my ID? You can still vote a provisional ballot by providing your drivers license number or the last four digits of your Social Security number. Once the information is verified, your ballot will be counted.
How can I find my polling location? It’s a good idea to check before you go since some locations have moved due to the pandemic. You can search for it here: https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/toolkit/polling-location/
What if I want to be a poll worker? Ohio deploys 35,000 workers across 3,600 polling places. Workers are paid about $140 and receive online training through the county board of elections. Check with your employer about whether you can get a day off work to be a poll worker.
What are the requirements to be a poll worker? You must be a registered voter and have never been convicted of a felony. High school students 17 and older may be poll workers through the Youth at the Booth program.
How can I sign up? https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/precinct-election-officials/peosignup/