How to Vote in Ohio 2012

(Voter info below.) Before 2004, there was one way to vote in Ohio. You signed in on voting day, punched your ballot, saw it dropped into the ballot box, and walked away knowing you’d done your duty. Since then, a series of Republican moves to hamper voters countered by Democratic moves to help voters, has brought changes. In 2004, Secretary of State, and Bush-Cheney Ohio campaign chairman, Ken Blackwell oversaw a presidential election with such hindrances as too few voting machines, Republican vote challengers, denial and rejection of provisional ballots, and many hours-long lines, mostly in big cities and college towns. The next year citizens petitioned for ballot issues to prevent recurrence of such troubles. One of the issues would have let any voter get an absentee ballot without giving a reason. Though the issue later failed, it seemed to prompt the Republican General Assembly to head it off by passing it, but with an ID requirement. In 2006, Republicans passed more voting restrictions to require ID, hamper voter registration drives, eliminate the random audit of voting machines, and hamper or ban contests of election results. And last year Ohio Republicans passed a law to pare back early voting, allow poll workers to neglect helping a voter to the right precinct table and ban elections boards from mailing out absentee ballot requests. But citizens petitioned to repeal that law. And facing a strong chance that the repeal would pass, state house Republicans, making history, repealed their own law just to keep voters from doing it. Still, the Republicans kept a little something of their anti-voting law: the ban of early voting the week-end before Election Day. Having also been passed in a separate law, that ban stayed on the books. But Democrats brought a court challenge, and a federal judge threw out the week-end voting ban. (Update: Republicans appealed that ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court and lost.) In another move to hamper voters, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted issued tie-breaking votes against longer early voting hours in Democratic-leaning counties, while some Republican-leaning counties had already voted for the longer hours. But after an outcry by Democrats and newspapers, Husted issued uniform hours for all 88 counties, though with less after-work and weekend hours than some counties had in 2008. Also, Husted issued a ban on county boards of elections mailing out absentee ballot requests. So the Cuyahoga County Council voted to do the job itself. With no authority to stop it, and facing the prospect of having just heavily-Democratic Cuyahoga County mailing absentee ballot requests, Husted had his own office mail them out to all registered voters in the state. After all these changes, there are more ways to vote in Ohio. But you can still walk away — from polling place, elections office or mail box — knowing you’ve done your duty.

Ohio Voter Information

  • Registration Deadline: Tuesday, October 9th
  • Register now!
    1. CLICK HERE to fill in an online registration form, and print it out.
    2. Sign and date the form.
    3. Put the form in an envelope and address it to your county elections board. CLICK HERE for the address.
    4. Stamp and mail the envelope so that it is postmarked by October 9th. Note: A postage meter mark won’t work – use a stamp.
  • Register in person: You can also register in person at many places, including any public library, any BMV office, many city halls, and boards of education or high schools.
  • Confirmation: Within 20 days of registering, the county board of elections will mail you a postcard stating where your polling place is. Also, the secretary of state will mail you an absentee ballot request form.
  • Check your registration: If you received an an absentee ballot request form from the secretary of state, it should serve to verify that you are registered. Or you can CLICK HERE for a search form to check that you are registered. If the online search does not find your registration, call your county elections board to check — CLICK HERE for the phone number.
  • How to vote: You can vote by absentee ballot, early in person or on election day.
  • Absentee Ballot: You can vote an absentee ballot by mail without giving a reason. Mail your ballot to the county elections board by Noon Saturday, November 3rd (to be postmarked by Monday, November 5th), or drop off your ballot at the elections board during open hours on any day up until the polls close on election day. If you did not get an absentee ballot, check your registration. To request an absentee ballot, CLICK HERE for the request form, fill it in and mail it to your elections board — CLICK HERE for the address. NOTE: Once you request an absentee ballot, you must vote that absentee ballot, and can no longer vote a regular ballot, neither early nor on election day. (Though you could vote a provisional ballot, which gets counted last.)
  • Early In-Person Voting: You can vote early in person at your board of elections (or maybe another site — call to check) from October 2nd through November 5th, as follows:
    • Oct 2 – 5 (Tue – Fri): 8 to 5
    • Oct 9 (Tue): 8 to 9
    • Oct 10 – 12 (Wed – Fri): 8 to 5
    • Oct 15 – 19 (Mon – Fri): 8 to 5
    • Oct 22 – 26 (Mon – Fri): 8 to 7
    • Oct 29 – Nov 1 (Mon to Thr): 8 to 7
    • Nov 2 (Fri): 8 to 6
    • Nov 3 (Sat): 8 to 2
    • Nov 4 (Sun): 1 to 5
    • Nov 5 (Mon): 8 to 2
  • Election Day: Vote at your polling place. Election day is Tuesday, November 6th, voting hours are from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Bring your driver’s license or a document showing your voter registration address, such as a utility bill.
  • Contribute: You can contribute to state candidates and get your money back as a credit on your Ohio income tax — up to $50 filing singly, or $100 filing jointly. The credit applies to all state-wide candidates, including those for the Ohio Supreme Court (but not the U.S. Senate), and to state legislative candidates.
  • Sources

    with such hindrances “Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio – Status Report of the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff; January 5, 2005

    citizens petitioned “Ohio Ballot Issues Address ’04 Election Ills” – The Paragraph; November 6th, 2005

    seemed to prompt “Ohio House endorses no-fault absentee voting” BY JIM PROVANCE; Toledo Blade; 2005-10-20

    more voting restrictions “How to Vote in Ohio” – The Paragraph; October 4th, 2006

    passed a law “Over 200,000 Votes Cast In 2008 By Ohioans Living In Ohio’s Capitol Would Now Be Banned By Kasich’s Election Law” By Tanya Somanader; Think Progress; Jul 25, 2011

    petitioned to repeal “SECRETARY OF STATE HUSTED CERTIFIES HB 194 REFERENDUM PETITION SIGNATURES – Petitioners have met requirements to place issue on November 2012 ballot.” – Ohio Secretary of State; December 9, 2011

    COLUMBUS – Secretary of State Jon Husted today certified that petitioners seeking a referendum on House Bill 194 have collected 307,358 valid signatures, meeting the requirements to place the issue on the 2012 November ballot. Petitioners needed 231,150 signatures, or six percent of the total vote cast for Governor in 2010.

    a strong chance “Jon Husted really, really wants to avoid having his elections bill decided by a referendum” By ModernEsquire; Plunderbund; January 25, 2012

    repealed their own law “Ohio House votes to repeal controversial election law” By Joe Guillen; The Plain DealerMay 08, 2012

    federal judge threw out “Judge overturns Ohio law, restores in-person early voting in 3 days leading to Election Day” By Reginald Fields; The Plain Dealer; August 31, 2012

    issued tie-breaking votes “State may set hours for voting – Democrats think GOP managing to tailor voting to county history” By Darrel Rowland; The Columbus Dispatch; August 11, 2012

    issued uniform hours “Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted calls for uniform early voting hours” By Reginald Fields; The Plain Dealer; August 15, 2012/p>

    Husted issued a ban “Cuyahoga County Council OKs absentee ballot mailing; Husted drops plan to block ballot applications” By Joe Guillen; The Plain Dealer; August 30, 2011

    mail them out to all “Absentee ballots arriving in the mail” By BOBBY WARREN; The Daily Record (Wooster); September 7, 2012

    Ohio Voter Information: Except for that below, all Voter Information comes from the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.

    Contribute – Ohio Campaign Finance Current Law – Ohio League of Women Voters

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    By Quinn Hungeski,, Copyright (CC BY-ND) 2012

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