Voter Registration – Frequently Asked Questions

Download a Voter Registration Form

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


How do I know whether I am qualified to register and to vote in Ohio?

You are qualified to register to vote in Ohio if you meet all the following requirements:

  • You are a citizen of the United States.
  • You will be at least 18 years old on or before the day of the 2006 general election.
  • If you will turn 18 after the May 2 primary election but on or before the November 7 general election, you may vote in the primary election for nominees to be elected on November 7. (You must be 18 years old to vote on issues or to elect political party committee members.)
  • You will be a resident of Ohio for at least 30 days immediately before the election in which you want to vote.
  • You are not incarcerated (in prison) for a felony conviction under the laws of this state, another state or the United States.
  • You have not been declared incompetent for voting purposes by a probate court.
  • You are registered to vote in Ohio at least 30 consecutive days before the election.

How is voting residency determined?

Ohio election officials use rules set forth in law (R.C. 3503.02) to determine a person’s qualifying voting address. Under those rules, your voting residence is the place in which your permanent habitation is fixed and to which, whenever you leave, you intend to return. You must intend your residence in the county to be permanent, not temporary. You will not lose your voting residency in Ohio if you leave temporarily and intend to return, unless you are absent from the state for four consecutive years. (Exception: You will not lose your residency after four years if your absence from Ohio is due to your employment with the government of this state or the United States, including military service, unless you vote in, or permanently move to, another state.)

May a student register and vote from the student’s school address in Ohio?

Yes, a student may vote using the student’s Ohio school residence address if both:

  • the school residence is the place in which the student’s permanent habitation is fixed and to which, whenever the student leaves, the stu- dent intends to return, and
  • the student intends to reside permanently in the Ohio county in which the school residence address is located.

How can I obtain an Ohio voter registration application?

You may obtain a form in person, and register in person, at any of the following locations:

  • The office of the Secretary of State (click for online request) or any of the 88 county boards of elections.
  • The office of any deputy registrar of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
  • Offices of designated agencies that provide public assistance or disability programs.
  • Public libraries.
  • Public high schools or vocational schools.
  • County treasurers’ offices.

You also may ask a county board of elections (click for online directory) or the Secretary of State’s office (click for online request) to mail a registration form to you.

Where can I register to vote?

In person: You can register to vote in person at any of the locations listed above.

By mail: Mail your properly completed and signed registration application to your county board of elections (click for online directory) or the Secretary of State’s office.

When must I register?

Ohio has a 30-day voter registration deadline. If you register to vote by mail, your properly completed and signed registration application must be mailed to the office of a county board of elections (click for online directory) or the office of the Secretary of State and must be postmarked not later than the 30th day before the first election in which you want to vote.

If you do not mail your registration application directly to election officials, it must be delivered to a county board of elections, the office of the Secretary of State, a public library, high school or vocational school, Bureau of Motor Vehicles deputy registrar, county treasurer’s office or designated agency not later than the registration deadline for the first election in which you want to vote.

Do I declare my political party affiliation when I register?

No. Under Ohio law, your political party affiliation is determined by the ballot you cast in a partisan primary election.

What if I change my address or name after registering to vote in Ohio?

If you are an Ohio voter who moved within this state or changed your name, you must report the change to election officials by submitting – in person at the locations discussed above or by mail – a properly completed and signed form showing your former and new addresses and/or names.

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

As noted under “Voter Eligibility,” above, a person currently serving time in prison for a felony conviction cannot register to vote or vote. Additionally, a person who has twice been convicted of a violation of the elections laws is permanently barred from voting in Ohio. An otherwise qualified person convicted of a misdemeanor may vote, and one convicted of a felony may register and vote while on probation or parole or after being released from prison.

What happens after I submit my voter registration application?

  • If the board of elections accepts your voter registration application, the board will mail a notice to your voting residence address confirming that you are registered to vote, identifying your voting precinct and stating the location of your precinct polling place.
  • If the board does not accept your registration application, it will immediately mail you a notice stating why your application was rejected and requesting you to provide whatever information or verification is necessary to complete your application.
  • If you do not receive a notice that your registration was accepted or rejected, please contact your county board of elections (click for online directory) before election day to determine if the board received your application.

Can I check the status of my voter registration online?

Some, but not all, county boards of elections (click for online directory) link their Web sites to their voter registration files that allow people to determine if they are registered to vote.