How to Register, Vote and Track Your Ballot in Ohio

Posted on 11/17/22 by Catherine Maddux

En español | Ohio offers several ways to register to vote, including online, by mail and in person. All registered voters are eligible to get an absentee ballot. Those who vote in person at the polls on Election Day will need to show an approved ID.

The Nov. 8 general election decided races for the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, the Ohio House and Senate, the governorship, the state attorney general and other offices.

  • Upcoming elections: Information about upcoming elections is available on the Ohio elections website.
  • Absentee voting: Ohio is a no-excuse voting state, which means all registered voters can apply for and receive an absentee ballot. 
  • Voting at the polls: You must bring a personal ID with you to the polls, such as a driver’s license or state or military ID. A list of approved IDs is posted on the state elections website.

Ohio has finalized its U.S. congressional and state legislative maps as part of the most recent redistricting cycle. New district boundaries may change which candidates appear on your ballot and where you vote. Locate your district on the state election's website, where you can find the latest congressional and state legislative maps.

Voters Across The Country Head To The Polls For The Midterm Elections

  • Online: Use the state’s voter registration portal to register, check the status of your application or update your registration. You may also register or update your personal information while applying for or renewing your Ohio driver’s license.  You’ll need a state driver’s license or Ohio identification number to register online.
  • By mail: Download a voter registration application from the state elections website, print it, fill it out and mail it to your county boards of elections. You can also call the Ohio secretary of state’s office toll-free at 877-767-6446, ext. 1, and request an application be mailed to you.

To vote in Ohio's primary elections, you must designate a political party. You can request the party ballot you prefer during any primary, which changes your party registration, and can only vote on your party’s ballot. If you choose not to declare a party, you are considered an unaffiliated voter and are only eligible to vote on issues initiatives in a primary.

All registered voters can vote by absentee ballot without providing a reason.

  • In person: Visit your county boards of elections during office hours to request an application. A directory with office hours is available on the state elections website.

Completed absentee ballots that are mailed back must be postmarked no later than one day before Election Day and received by your county boards of elections within 10 days after the election. Absentee ballots can be returned in person to your county boards of elections by the close of polls on Election Day.

Drop boxes for absentee ballots are available at all county boards of elections offices. Ballots must be returned to your county boards of elections office, not your polling station.

Track your ballot on the state elections website.

Most counties provide early voting at their boards of elections offices. Other counties may also set up early voting centers, so make sure to confirm your county’s location. Hours will be posted closer to the election.  A directory of all county boards of election offices is available on the state elections website.

Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Find your polling place on the Ohio elections website.

Yes. You must bring a personal ID with you to the polls. In addition to a driver’s license or state or military ID, options include a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other document with your name and current address. A complete list of acceptable IDs is on the state elections website

If you do not have an acceptable ID, you may provide either your Ohio driver’s license or state identification number (which begins with two letters followed by six numbers) or the last four digits of your Social Security number and cast a provisional ballot. Your ballot will be counted after your information is verified by state elections officials. If you don’t have the above information, you can still vote by using a provisional ballot, but you must return to your boards of elections office seven days after Election Day with an acceptable form of ID to have your ballot counted.

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Nov. 17, 2022. The guide was first published on July 28, 2020. 

This story is provided by AARP Ohio. Visit the AARP Ohio page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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