Guide to voting in Ohio


Does everyone who wants to vote in Ohio have to be registered to vote here?


Explore Video: What happens to your ballot?


Where is my residence for voting purposes?

Your residence is important because it determines which offices and issues you are eligible to vote on (e.g., the proper congressional district, school district, etc.). Under Ohio law, your residence is (1) the location that you consider to be a permanent, not a temporary, residence and (2) the place where your habitation is fixed and where, whenever you are absent, you intend to return. If you do not have a fixed place of habitation, but you are a consistent or regular inhabitant of a shelter or other location where you intend to return, you may use that location as your residence for the purposes of registering to vote.

Ohio is not considered your voting residence when:

  • You have moved to another state and vote in that state;
  • You have moved to another state and intend to make that state your residence;
  • You moved to another state and continuously reside outside of Ohio for a period of 4 years or more.

There are specific circumstances where you maintain your Ohio voting residence even though you are absent from the state. You will not lose your voting residency in Ohio if:

  • You leave temporarily and intend to return to Ohio;
  • You are absent from Ohio due to your services with the United States government or state of Ohio;
  • You have moved outside of the United States.

If you are a military voter, or the spouse or dependent of a military voter, your voting residence is the place in Ohio where you lived immediately before leaving Ohio for your military service.

If you were born outside of and continue to reside outside of the United States, but have a parent or guardian who last resided in and was last eligible to vote in Ohio before leaving the United States, your parent or guardian’s Ohio residence would be considered your voting residence.

If you have questions about your specific residency circumstances, you may contact your local board of elections for further information.


May a college student register and vote from his or her school address in Ohio?

It depends. A college student may vote using his or her Ohio school residence address if the student does not intend to return to a different permanent address. When a college student registers to vote from his or her school address, the school residence is considered to be the place to which the student’s habitation is fixed and to which, whenever the student is absent, the student intends to return, and is considered by the student to be his or her permanent residence at the time of voting. Any other previous residence for voting purposes is no longer valid. It is illegal for a person to register and vote from two different addresses.

ExploreFor more information about voting in college, click here.


Military and Overseas Voters

Note:State and federal law make additional accommodations for military and overseas voters. Please visit for more information


May I vote if I have been convicted of a crime?

A person currently serving time in jail or prison for a felony conviction can neither register to vote nor vote. Additionally, a person who has twice been convicted of a violation of Ohio’s elections laws is permanently barred from voting in Ohio.

An otherwise qualified person convicted of a misdemeanor may vote, and an otherwise qualified person who had been convicted of a felony may register and vote while on probation or parole, or after completing his or her jail or prison sentence.

The voter registration of a person who is incarcerated on a felony conviction is cancelled; once that person has completed his or her jail or prison sentence, or is on probation, parole or community control, he or she must re-register to vote by the registration deadline before voting.

For more information, click here to read Find a New Direction: Reclaim Your Right to Vote.



Identification Requirements

Ohio law requires that every voter, upon appearing at the polling place to vote on Election Day, must announce his or her full name and current address and provide proof of identity.

The forms of identification that may be used by a voter who appears at a polling place to vote on Election Day include

  • An unexpired Ohio driver's license or state identification card with present or former address so long as the voter's present residential address is printed in the official list of registered voters for that precinct;
  • A military identification;
  • A photo identification that was issued by the United States government or the State of Ohio, that contains the voter's name and current address and that has an expiration date that has not passed;
  • An original or copy of a current utility bill with the voter's name and present address;
  • An original or copy of a current bank statement with the voter's name and present address;
  • An original or copy of a current government check with the voter's name and present address;
  • An original or copy of a current paycheck with the voter's name and present address; or
  • An original or copy of a current other government document (other than a notice of voter registration mailed by a board of elections) that shows the voter's name and present address.

For utility bills, bank statements, government checks, paychecks, and other government documents, “current” is defined as within the last 12 months. “Utility bill” includes a cell phone bill. “Other government document” includes license renewal and other notices, fishing and marine equipment operator’s license, court papers, or grade reports or transcripts. “Government office” includes any local (including county, city, township, school district and village), state or federal (United States) government office, branch, agency, commission, public college or university or public community college, whether or not in Ohio.

Provisional ballots: If you do not have any of the above forms of identification 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. Once the information is reviewed and verified by the board of elections, your ballot will be counted.

If you do not provide one of the above documents or your driver’s license/state identification number or the last four digits of your Social Security number at the precinct, you will still be able to vote using a provisional ballot. However, in order for that ballot to be counted, you must return to the board of elections no later than seven days following Election Day to provide a qualifying form of identification.

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