Ohio Student Voting Guide

Registration Deadline

Voter Registration Deadline: 30 Days Before Election Day

Voter registration forms, polling place locations, and more information can be found at www.sos.state.oh.us/elections/Voters.aspx.

What Type of ID Do I Need to Register?

Ohio’s voter registration form asks for your Ohio driver’s license or ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. If you are registering by mail and you include neither an Ohio driver’s license number or the last four digits of your Social Security number, you must include a copy of: a current and valid photo ID; a military ID; or a current (within the last 12 months) utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or government document that shows your name and current address. Failure to provide this information could lead to you having to show additional identification when you vote that shows your picture or your name and address. Make sure to provide this information on the registration form so the state can verify your identity and you don’t run into issues when you cast your ballot.

Register at School or Home?

Students have a choice about where to register to vote.

School address:

  • Students attending college in Ohio may register at their school address. You must plan to return after temporary absences, like summer break, but do not have to plan to reside at that address permanently.

Permanent address:

  • Students may choose to register or remain registered at a permanent address in Ohio or outside the state. In this case, students may need to vote by absentee ballot.

You may only be registered and vote in one location.

What Type of ID Do I Need to Vote?

Those who vote early in person are only required to provide the last four digits of their social security number if they lack an Ohio driver’s license or non-driver ID card. Those who vote at the polls on Election Day must show one of the following types of ID:

  • Current and valid photo ID issued by the federal government or the State of Ohio (driver’s licenses and non-driver photo IDs issued by the Ohio BMV are acceptable even if the address does not match the address on the voter’s registration.)
  • Military ID that shows the voter’s name.
  • A copy or original of a current utility bill (including a cell phone bill), bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document (including those issued by a public college or university) that shows the voter’s name and current address (but not a notice of an election or a voter registration notification sent by a Board of Elections).

Colleges and universities may issue students living on campus a current utility bill with a current address that students can use as voter ID. A zero-balance bill indicating that the student has already paid for utilities is acceptable. A voter without ID will still be able to cast a provisional ballot after swearing to her identity, but must bring ID to the county board of elections within seven days.

Where Do I Vote?

A polling place locator online at http://voterlookup.sos.state.oh.us/voterlookup.aspx through the Secretary of State’s website. Voters must cast their ballots in the correct precinct. Sometimes there are multiple precincts in one polling place, so confirm your precinct ahead of time and get in the correct line!

How Can I Vote?

Early In Person

Registered voters have the right to vote early in person or absentee by mail without an excuse. Early in-person voting begins the day after the close of voter registration until the day before Election Day. Check with your local board of elections for dates and hours.
Absentee By Mail

  • An electronic application to vote absentee by mail and a PDF application that may be printed are available at the Secretary of State’s website.
  • Mailed applications must be received by your county board of elections by noon on the third day before the election.
  • The completed absentee ballot must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

On Election Day

The polls are open between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Will voting in Ohio affect my federal financial aid?

Where you register to vote will not affect federal financial aid such as Pell Grants and Perkins or Stafford loans or your dependency status regarding FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). 

Does being an out-of-state student for tuition purposes affect my right to vote in my college community?

No. You may choose to vote in your college community or back home regardless of your tuition status.

Will I lose my scholarship if I register to vote in Ohio?

Generally, no. If you receive scholarship money from a state, county, town, or a private entity (i.e., an entity other than the federal government) you should confirm that residency in a particular place is not a requirement of the scholarship and/or that voter registration in Ohio will not affect your eligibility. 

Will registering to vote in Ohio affect my driver’s license or car registration?

No. Simply registering to vote in Ohio does not mean you must obtain a driver’s license and register your vehicle in the state.

Will registering to vote in Ohio prevent my parents from claiming me as a dependent on their taxes?

No. Students are often told that registering to vote in a different state from their parents will make them lose their dependency status. This is not true. Where you register to vote will have no effect on your parent’s tax status. 
This Guide was prepared by FELN staff who are not licensed to practice law in Ohio and FELN intends that the information contained herein is used only as a general guide. This document should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a licensed Ohio legal professional.

Last updated June 2016