Voting by absentee ballot in Ohio is not really a difficult process, but there are several steps that the voter must take (and a few others that are recommended) in order to successfully cast a vote that will be counted on election day. This is the first in a series of articles that will break down the process into the series of steps that must be completed in sequence.
First and foremost, every voter in Ohio needs to be registered with their local county board of elections. Without being registered, there is no way to cast a ballot in any election. The registration process is simple, but it must be completed in time in order to participate in the upcoming election. The registration deadline for the Nov. 3, 2020 general election is October 5, 2020 at 9:00PM EDT.
There are many ways to register. You can go to the board of elections office and register in person. You can fill out the registration form at any public library. Also, most schools, churches and community service organizations have the registration forms and will assist you in filling it out correctly and sending it to the board of elections. And you can also download the form from the Ohio Secretary of State website print it out and submit it by mail or drop it off at the board of elections office. You might also receive voter registration forms from various candidates and organizations via the mail. It is permissible to use these forms as long as they have all the information the board of elections needs in order to complete your registration.
Again, the deadline for registration for the next general election is October 5, 2020!
Of course, if you are already registered, you don’t need to do any of this—however—in recent years there have been numerous attempts to remove the names of inactive voters from the voter rolls. Some of the reasons for doing this make sense as some voters may have moved out of their voting precinct or out of state since the last election. Others may have died or otherwise become ineligible to vote. However, experience has shown that these purges of the voter rolls have inadvertently removed the names of many voters who are perfectly entitled to be registered and vote in future elections.
So it is highly recommended, and in some cases essential, that you check to be certain your voter registration is still active. You can easily do this through the county board of elections website. For Geauga County, Ohio, go to the voter lookup page on the Board of Election website. Enter your name in the form and click the submit button. You should then see an information page that shows your name, address, precinct and polling location. If any of the information is incorrect or out of date, you should contact the Board of Elections immediately to make the corrections. This includes your address, even if you just moved within the same voting precinct.
Once you are certain you are registered as a current voter, you can move on to the next step which is to request an absentee ballot—which is the topic of part 2 in this series.
Thanks to Sheldon Firem for making us aware of this page on the Ohio Secretary of State website. The page gives access to the database of voters whose registration will be removed after the November 3 election. You can search for your name on the site to determine whether your voter registration is among those that will be removed. If you do find your name there, and you know you have voted in your current precinct in the last four years, it would be worth a call to the board of elections—even if you checked your registration and found that it is listed as active.
If you know your registration is active, and you do nothing other than vote on November 3, you should be removed from the inactive voter list automatically. But don’t take a chance on this. If you find your name in this list and you verify your registration with the board of elections, you should still check your registration status again after the election to be absolutely certain you have not been removed.
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