Frequently Asked Questions about Voting in Ohio
Voters throughout Ohio have already started casting ballots in the November election, and in record numbers. Voter enthusiasm is through the roof.
Many Ohio voters are voting in new ways — they may have requested an absentee ballot for the first time, or they may be voting early in-person in order to get their vote in before November 3rd.
That’s given rise to a lot of questions about voting rules and voters’ rights, so we’ll be answering a few of the most frequently asked questions we receive.
Q: What form of ID do I need to vote?
A: There are several types of valid ID you can use to vote on Election Day in Ohio, including an Ohio driver’s license, state or military ID, or a utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document issued within the last 12 months. You can find more information here.
During Early Vote, you can also vote using only the last four digits of your Social Security number, and you can vote a regular ballot. (On Election Day, if you have no ID you will be required to vote provisionally.) The poll worker is likely to ask you for ID, but if you say you want to vote with just the last four of your SSN, you will be issued with a form to fill out before voting a regular ballot. Sometimes poll workers are unfamiliar with this situation, so ask to speak to a supervisor if there is a problem.
Q: My driver’s license has expired or my address has changed. Can I still use it to vote?
A: Yes! If your driver’s license or state ID expired on or after March 9th, 2020, you can still use it to vote. Also, the address on your license or state ID does not need to match the address where you are registered. However, if you are using a utility bill, pay stub or other document as ID, the address does need to match where you are registered.
Q: Can I vote early in-person if I requested an absentee ballot already?
A: Yes, you can. You’ll be able to vote using a regular paper ballot, not a provisional ballot which is counted later and may include voter follow up. Election officials will ask you for your absentee ballot, but you don’t have to have it with you in order to vote in-person. However, if you have requested an absentee ballot and go to vote on Election Day, you will be required to vote a provisional ballot.
Q: How can I find out if my ballot has been received and accepted?
A: You can track your ballot at your county board of elections website or at voteohio.gov. It should say when your ballot has been mailed, received, and accepted.
Q: What do I do if my ballot has been mailed but I haven’t received it yet?
A: You can call your board of elections and see what’s going on. You can also call the voter protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE if you do not receive a satisfactory answer.
Q: Where and how can I return my voted absentee ballot?
A: Voted absentee ballots can be returned by mail (with the correct postage) with a postmark NO LATER THAN November 2nd. (Earlier is better.) They can also be returned to the 24/7 drop box located at your county board of elections. Ballots dropped off to the drop box do not need postage. They must be returned by 7:30pm on Election Day.
Please note: Voted ballots cannot be returned to your precinct polling place on Election Day. They must be returned to the county board of elections by 7:30pm.
Q: If I’m waiting in line at Early Vote when the voting center closes, can I still vote?
A: Absolutely — election officials have to let you vote if you’re already waiting in line at the time when voting is set to conclude.
Q: Can I turn in my absentee ballot at my polling place on Election Day?
A: No. Absentee ballots turned in at precinct polling places will not be counted. They must be returned to the county board of elections by 7:30pm on Election Day, or postmarked no later than Monday November 2nd. These ballots are only counted if they are received within ten days after the election.
Q: Why is it better to vote a regular ballot rather than a provisional one?
A: First of all, provisional ballots are not counted until ten days after the election, while regular ballots are counted beginning as soon as polls close on Election Night. Secondly, provisional ballots are a safeguard; additional steps by the Board of Elections and voters are necessary. Provisional ballots are only counted if it is shown that the voter has not voted previously, and if the voter affirmatively establishes they have the right to vote. This may involve bringing additional proof of address or identification. In Ohio, while all these ballots are reviewed, many provisional ballots are not counted.
Q: Should we expect election results on November 3rd?
A: No. Absentee ballots will be counted as they arrive up until ten days after the election. Election results are not certified in Ohio until 21 days after the election. The most important thing is that we insist that every vote is counted.
Everything we’ve mentioned is the law — so if anyone tries to prevent you from voting, or asks you to vote a provisional ballot because of any of these things, advocate for yourself!
You can also call our nonpartisan Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE if you face any difficulties voting or just have a question about casting your ballot.