How to Vote in Ohio's 2022 Elections

Posted on 11/10/21 by Catherine Maddux

En español | Ohio’s May 3 primaries will determine which candidates appear on November’s general election ballot for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, and for governor, state attorney general and many other state offices. Note that changes could be coming for how you vote in the 2022 elections, as lawmakers and courts consider new criteria for absentee balloting and voter ID requirements. A proposed redistricting plan has redrawn boundaries and may impact which candidates run in your district.

  • Ohio is a no-excuse voting state, which means all registered voters can apply for and receive an absentee ballot. 
  • Early in-person voting is available from April 5 until May 2, the day before the primary election. Early in-person voting in the general begins Oct. 12 and lasts through Nov. 7, the day before Election Day. Voters should check the location of early in-person absentee voting with their county board of elections prior to going to vote.
  • The primary is May 3, and the general election is Nov. 8. Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. 
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How do I register to vote?

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. The deadline to register is April 4 for the 2022 primary and Oct. 11 for the general.

By mail: Download a voter registration application from the state elections website, print it, fill it out and mail it to your county board 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.

In person: Registration forms are also available at any county board of elections office, any Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles location, public high schools and libraries, and various government offices. There's a full list of locations on the Ohio secretary of state’s website.

Does my party affiliation matter when I vote?

To vote in Ohio 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-only initiatives in a primary. 

How can I get an absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?

You are may vote by absentee ballot in Ohio without providing a reason. 

  • Phone and mail: You can get an application for an absentee ballot mailed to you by calling your county board of elections and requesting one. The deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail is noon on April 30 for the primary and noon on Nov. 5 for the general election. You can also make your own application to request an absentee ballot. Requirements for a self-made application and where to mail it are available on the state elections website.
  • In person: Visit your county board of elections during office hours to request an application. A directory with office hours is available on the state elections website. The deadline to request an absentee ballot in person is the Saturday before Election Day.

Completed absentee ballots that are mailed back must be postmarked no later than one day before Election Day (May 2 for the primary and Nov. 7 for the general) and received by your county board of elections within 10 days after the election. Absentee ballots can be returned in person to your county board of elections by the close of polls on Election Day — that's 7:30 p.m. for the May 3 primary and Nov. 8 general election.

Drop boxes for absentee ballots are available at all county board of elections offices. The deadline to submit an absentee ballot by a drop box is 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots must be returned to your county board office, not your polling station.

Can I track my absentee ballot?

Yes, you can track your ballot on the state elections website.

Can I vote in person before Election Day?

You can vote in person from April 5 through May 2 for the primary and from Oct. 12 through Nov. 7 for the general election. Most counties provide early voting at their board of elections offices, except for Lucas and Summit counties, which have early voting centers. 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 board of election offices is available on the state elections website.

When is Election Day? When are polls open?

The primary is May 3, and the general election is Nov. 8. Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

Do I need identification to vote?

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 the board of elections. If you don’t have the above information, you can still vote by using a provisional ballot, but you must return to the board of elections seven days after Election Day with an acceptable form of ID to have your ballot counted.

What races are on the ballot?

  • U.S. Senate: The seat of Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who will not seek reelection
  • U.S. House: All 15 seats; Ohio lost a seat in the House, as determined by population decline in the 2020 census.
  • Governor
  • Attorney General
  • State House: All 33 seats
  • State Senate: Half of all seats 
  • Other state and municipal seats

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Nov. 10 with information about how to vote in 2022. The guide was first published on July 28, 2020. Voting rules, procedures and candidates may change before Election Day. We’ll keep this guide updated, so bookmark this page and check back. 


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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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