Individuals must be registered to vote for the November general election by Oct. 10, which can be done online. Registered voters may choose among voting early in person, voting in person on Election Day and voting by absentee ballot.
Being a commuter school, most students may have means to get to their board of elections. At the same time, being in college can complicate voting procedures, especially if students do not live at the residential address where they are registered to vote.
If a registered voter in Ohio moves to a new county, they are required to change their address in their voter registration through their board of elections. The deadline to submit a change of address to any respective board of elections is 30 days before the election, so any student who has recently moved into CSU dorms has time to do so.
Students who do not wish to change their residential address may request an absentee ballot or vote early in person at the board of elections where they are registered to vote.
An absentee ballot application can be filled out and mailed to the voter’s board of elections in their county. Or, registered voters may call their board of elections and request an absentee ballot application. Either option initiates the process of receiving a ballot and voting by mail.
Absentee ballot applications must be received by the voter’s board of elections by 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 31.
Mailed absentee ballots must be postmarked on or before Nov. 6 and received by the respective board of elections on or before Nov. 13. If not mailed, absentee ballots must be received by the board of elections by 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 7.
Early in person voting
Early in person voting requires a registered voter to go to the board of elections in their county prior to Election Day to vote.
Early in person voting begins on Oct. 11 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and continues through Nov. 3 with varied hours. The only weekend to vote early and in person is Nov. 4 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Nov. 5 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., just before Election Day.
But what if these options do not work for a CSU student? Could they vote at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, just a few minutes to walk from campus, even if they are not registered to vote in Cuyahoga County?
The short answer is probably, but the voter’s eligibility could be under question, and the voter may need to vote by a provisional ballot.
“A provisional ballot is used to record a vote if a voter’s eligibility is in question and the voter would otherwise not be permitted to vote at his or her polling place. The content of a provisional ballot is no different from a regular ballot, but it is cast ‘provisionally’ until election officials can verify the voter’s eligibility to vote in the particular precinct at that election,” reads the website of Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
Voters would be required to cast a provisional ballot for issues regarding name, photo identification, in person voting after requesting an absentee ballot, or not voting at the designated polling place based upon the voter’s residential address, according to voter registration records.
To avoid submitting a provisional ballot and ensure eligibility ahead of election day, Ohio offers an online voter search for individuals to check voter registration status and find their voting precincts.
Election Day is Nov. 7