September 24, 2008

Voting Rights and Regulations

Early and Absentee Voting
Any qualified voter may request and vote an absentee ballot or vote early without stating a reason. A voter can vote early whether or not they have already registered until October 6 (the registration deadline).

If you requested an absentee ballot you should not go to an early voting center. Instead, wait for the requested absentee ballot to arrive by mail, fill it out, and return it. If you have already received your absentee ballot you can fill it out and bring it in person to the Board of Elections or mail it.

Early and Absentee Voting Identification Requirements
Several forms of identification are accepted to vote early or by absentee ballot. Most voters will use either:
The last four digits of your social security number or your Ohio driver’s license number.
You can also use:
A copy of a current and valid photo identification (i.e. Ohio Driver License, State ID card, Government ID). Photo Identification must show name and address; or

A copy of a current utility bill (including a cell phone bill), bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document that shows the voter’s name and current address (including from a public university).

Election Day ID Requirements
November 4 Election Day requirements are different than early or absentee voting. On Election Day, a voter must show their current and valid photo identification or a copy of a utility bill, etc. They will not be allowed to vote on Election Day using only the last four digits of their social security number or their driver’s license number. It is much easier to vote early.

College Student Registration
A student can register and vote from their Ohio school address. If they vote from their school address though they may not vote at their previous address (i.e. their parents’ address). If they are not voting early they should get a utility bill or bank statement with their name and current address to make sure they have proper identification for Election Day (see Election Day id requirements above).

Homeless Persons Registration
Homeless people can register at a shelter or wherever they receive mail and will vote in the precinct where they receive mail. Since voting on Election Day requires identification that many homeless people do not have, they should be encouraged to vote early before the registration deadline of October 6th. This way they can register and vote all at the same time.

Ex-Felon Registration
Many ex-felons think they can’t vote, but a convicted felon can register and vote in Ohio if they are on probation, parole, or after completing their sentence. They cannot register or vote if they are currently in prison for a felony. A person twice convicted of violating elections laws cannot vote in Ohio.

What to Expect At the Polls
Ohio law bars political electioneering within 100 feet of a polling place. Although it is unclear if Ohio electioneering law applies to early vote centers, to be safe Vote Today Ohio volunteers will not engage in any electioneering near an early voting center. We will bring voters to an early vote center, but we will not accompany them inside the building. We will not assist voters in filling out their absentee ballot. If needed, voters can request a democratic and republican observer to assist them inside the polling station. They can also request that a family member or other person assist them (our volunteers will decline to take on this role if asked).

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