Monday, October 10, 2016
By Marc Kovac
Early voting starts in Ohio on Wednesday.
But you won’t be able to cast a ballot that counts toward the results unless you make sure you’re registered by Tuesday. It would also be wise to confirm your registration and address with elections officials then.
Here are 10 final things to consider as Ohio’s voter registration deadline approaches:
11You’re eligible to participate in the November presidential election if you are 18 or older, a U.S. citizen and a resident of Ohio.
If you’re in prison for a felony conviction, have been declared incompetent by a judge or otherwise been “permanently disenfranchised for violating elections laws,” then you’re out of luck.
You’ll find a full description of voter eligibility and other requirements online at MyOhioVote.com.
111If you don’t have an Ohio driver’s license or, for some reason, don’t have your Social Security number, you’ll have to provide some other forms of identification, like a bank statement, military ID, paycheck stub, etc.
Registration forms also require your signature.
111While lawmakers have paved the way for online voter registration next year, that’s not an option for this election.
111If doing the former, make sure it’s in the mail by Tuesday – it might be wise to ask the post office to ensure the envelope is postmarked accordingly.
111Even if you are eligible, if you’re not properly registered, your vote likely won’t be counted on Election Day.
Josh Eck, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, said you probably won’t be turned away from your precinct polling place. Instead, you’ll have to vote a provisional ballot, which probably won’t be counted if you didn’t register in advance, he said.
111While you can’t register online, you can update your address through the secretary of state’s website. You’ll also find the location of your precinct polling place, if you decide to wait until Election Day to cast your ballot.
That said, you can update your address after the registration deadline, though you’ll likely have to cast a provisional ballot as elections officials confirm your residence and eligibility.
111There were nearly 8 million registered voters in 2012, and nearly 8.3 million in 2008, the previous two presidential elections.
111As of about a week before the registration deadline, more than 957,000 of those applications had been returned to elections officials requesting absentee ballots.
Nearly 15,000 of those came from military men and women and other Ohioans living overseas. Ballots for those voters were mailed earlier, and 247 have been submitted – the first official votes cast in the 2016 presidential election.
Eck said Husted plans another round of absentee ballot application mailings after Tuesday, covering new or otherwise updated registrations that were not part of the earlier mailing.
You also can download an absentee ballot application via the secretary of state’s website.
1112222A federal appeals court last month ruled the state violated federal election law on that issue.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent, called on Husted to return 1.2 million eligible voters to the state’s rolls in advance of the registration deadline.
In a column distributed last week, Husted wrote, “The only voters who have been removed are those who have died, requested cancellation after moving out of state, notified a board of elections of a change of address to a different Ohio county, or are no longer eligible to vote under state law. Federal and state law requires us to keep the voter rolls up to date to avoid having deceased and ineligible voters on the rolls. Having clean voter rolls protects your vote and makes Election Day more efficient.”