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Election Protection: Keeping Calm and Carrying On
10/23/16 |
Publication Date: 
Sunday, October 23, 2016 - 01:00

Donald Trump has not only challenged the legitimacy of the upcoming presidential election, he has challenged many citizens’ right to vote. ...

But Trump’s threat to voting has galvanized state and local election officials and voting advocates across the political spectrum in a pushback against the most serious voter intimidation effort that the country has faced since the 1965 Voting Rights Act ended the routine denial of the franchise to Southern blacks. Republican secretaries of state from coast to coast have lambasted his remarks and pledged to maintain the integrity of the election process. At least one Republican secretary of state, Paul Pate of Iowa, took Trump’s comments as a personal insult. As Salon noted, it’s Republican secretaries of state who control the election process in most of the battleground states, so Trump did the party no favors....

Voter Fraud Is Extremely Rare, Hard to Accomplish, Researchers Say
10/24/16 |
Publication Date: 
Sunday, October 23, 2016 - 00:00

Josh Douglas, a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law specializing in election law and voting rights, said impersonating anyone, dead or alive, on the voting rolls is not only a federal crime but also hard to do.

"You'd have to go find someone who has died, find that they're still on the voter registration rolls, and go show up at the polls," Douglas said. "In states that don't have a strict voter ID requirement, you still show some sort of verification. ... Everywhere you need to show something or sign in, and your signature can be matched with the [one] you provided when you registered to vote. ...

Douglas said that only U.S. citizens can legally register to vote and that any names of noncitizens on the registry would most likely be few, and placed there by error.

"There's some suggestion that there may be some illegal immigrants on voter rolls in some states — usually by mistake — and they don't even know they're there," he said. "Typically, [it might occur] when they are interacting with a government agency for something, and as part of that they automatically get registered to vote. There's [virtually no] evidence that these people, even if they are on the rolls, show up to vote.

"There's zero evidence that illegal immigrants are nefariously trying to infiltrate the U.S. election system by covertly registering and then going to vote," Douglas said.

He also said that because of the signature requirement, it also was not likely that a person could vote multiple times. What's more, he said, there are other safeguards. Someone trying to commit voter fraud would most likely be spotted by poll workers, who stay at the polling place all day.Trained political party officials and pro-voting groups also monitor the process.

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Ohio Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 General Election: November 8, 2016

Voter Registration Deadline: October 11, 2016

For more information, visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s website http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/.

Election Day:

The polls must be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Election Day. If there are voters waiting in line to cast their ballots, the polls must remain open until those in line have voted.

Early In-Person voting begins October 12, 2016. Voters will find their polling locations here: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/Upload/sites/ballotTracking/ballotTracking.aspx?page=20547

How to Find Your Polling Place:

Visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s polling place locator web page.



Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.

Registration Deadlines:

The voter registration deadline is October 11, 2016. Because Early In-Person voting begins October 12, 2016. To register to vote in person, you must provide either your driver’s license number or the last four digits of your Social Security number as identification on the registration card.

How to Check Your Registration: Visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s voter registration check web page or call 866-OUR-VOTE.


Registration Eligibility: In order to be eligible to register in Ohio, you must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States;
  • Be at least 18 years old on or before Election Day;
  • Be an Ohio resident for at least 30 days;
  • Not be imprisoned for a felony conviction;
  • Not be declared  incompetent for voting purposes by a probate court; and
  • Not be permanently denied the right to vote for violations of the election laws.

How to Register: Complete your voter registration form and return in person or by mail to any of the following public offices:

  • Any county board of elections;
  • The Ohio Secretary of State’s Office;
  • BMV or Deputy Registrars;
  • Office of designated agencies, including:
    • The Department of Job and Family Services,
    • The Department of Health (including the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program),
    • The Department of Mental Health,
    • The Department of Developmental Disabilities,
    • Opportunities for Ohioans With Disabilities, or
    • Any state-assisted college or university that provides assistance to disabled students;
  • Any county treasurer’s office;
  • Any public high school or vocational school; or
  • Any public library.

Your completed voter registration form must be postmarked or received at least 30 days before Election Day.

Identification Required for Registration:

You may provide the last four digits of your Social Security number, or your current and valid Ohio driver’s license number on line 10 of the Voter Registration Form. If you have neither, you may write “None.”

If You Want to Vote Early

Early In-Person Voting begins October 12, 2016. Registered voters may vote early on business days: October 12-October 21 (8a-5pm), October 24-28 (8am-6pm), and October 31-November 4 (8am-7pm). Additional hours will be available on the two weekends before Election Day: October 29 (8am-4pm), October 30 (1pm-5pm), November 5 (8am-4pm), and November 6 (1pm-5pm). The last day of Early In-Person Voting is Monday, November 7, 2016; please note that voting is only available 8am-2pm on November 7.

Check with your county board of elections for information about where to vote early: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/elections/electionsofficials/boeDirectory.aspx.

If You Want to Vote Absentee

Anyone who is a registered voter may vote absentee. If an absentee ballot is mailed to you and you change your mind and appear at your polling place to vote on Election Day, you will be required to vote a provisional ballot that cannot be counted until at least 11 days after the election.

Absentee voting by mail begins October 12, 2016. The absentee ballot postmark deadline is November 7, 2016.  Applications are available online at http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/upload/elections/forms/11-A.pdf. Applications must be received by noon on Saturday, November 5 (three days before the general election).  The county board will mail you an absentee ballot.  Mark the ballot and mail it back to the county board.  Your ballot is due back to the county board of elections before the close of the polls on Election Day (or else should be postmarked by the day before Election Day and received within 10 days after Election Day).

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

You may vote without providing identification, BUT if you have no ID, you must vote on a provisional ballot. When you cast your provisional ballot you must provide either: (a) your Ohio driver’s license or state identification number (which begins with two letters followed by six numbers), or (b) the last four digits of your Social Security number. If a voter casts a provision ballot, he or she should expect to be given information so that they can follow up to make sure that their vote counted. 

(If a voter has no ID and does not put his ID number or SSN on the provisional ballot, then he may vote the ballot but must then show up at the Board of Elections within 7 days with proper ID in order for the ballot to be counted.)

To vote a regular ballot, Ohio voters are required to show some kind of proof of identity. Acceptable forms of identification are:

  • An unexpired Ohio driver’s license or state identification card with present or former address;
  • A military identification;
  • A photo identification that was issued by the United States government or the State of Ohio, that contains the voter’s name and current address and that has an expiration date that has not passed;
  • An original or copy of a current (within the last 12 months) utility bill (includes a cell phone bill or zero balance utility bill from university housing) with the voter’s name and present address (note: a U.S. Passport is not valid ID, because it doesn’t have an address listed);
  • An original or copy of a current bank statement with the voter’s name and present address;
  • An original or copy of a current government check with the voter’s name and present address;
  • An original or copy of a current paycheck with the voter’s name and present address; or
  • An original or copy of a current other government document (other than a notice of voter registration mailed by a board of elections) that shows the voter’s name and present address.

VoteRiders has created Ohio voter ID info cards in English and in Spanish.

Moving within the Same County

Moving within the same precinct

Any registered voter who moves within a precinct on or prior to election day and has not filed a change of residence form may vote by going to their assigned polling place, completing and signing a change of residence form, showing identification in the form of a current and valid photo identification, a military identification, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and current address of the elector, and casting a ballot. The identification used by the voter should reflect their current/new address.

Moving to a different precinct but within the same county

The voter should file a change of residence form or vote by appearing at the board of elections starting 29 days before election day, or on the day of the election at their polling place or the board of elections and completing and signing the written affirmation on the provisional ballot envelope, voting a provisional ballot, and completing and signing a statement attesting to their change of address.

If a voter is unable to appear at the office of the board of elections or other designated location due to illness or disability, they may vote on election day if they do all of the following: (1) Apply for an absent voter’s ballot at the board of elections starting 90 days before the election and no later than 12pm on the Saturday before the election; (2) declare that the voter has moved; (3) complete and return a notice of change of residence; and (4) complete and sign a statement attesting that the voter has moved and has voted by absent voter’s ballot because of illness or disability.

Moving Between Counties

The voter should file a change of residence form.  If that has not happened, then starting 29 days before Election Day the voter may go in person to the Board of Elections (or another place if the Board has so designated) and do the following:  completing and signing the written affirmation on the provisional ballot envelope, voting a provisional ballot, and completing and signing a statement attesting to the change of address.

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

Qualified voters who are members of the uniformed services or residing overseas may apply for an absentee ballot in any of the following ways:

  1. You may use the current Federal Post Credit Application (FPCA), available online at www.fvap.gov. The FPCA may be used both to register to vote and to request absentee ballots.
  2. You may also request an absentee ballot using a form prescribed by the Ohio Secretary of State (Form 11-A, if you will be in Ohio during the absentee period; otherwise use an FPCA).
  3. If you are already a registered Ohio voter, you may designate an eligible relative to request an absentee ballot on your behalf, like using the Secretary of State prescribed Form 11-E or the FPCA.

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

If you are an individual eligible to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), you may ask to receive your ballot in any one of the following ways:

1. By mail: Beginning on January 1, 2016, you may mail your completed absentee ballot application, bearing your signature, to the board of elections of the county in which your voting residence is located. The board must receive your request by noon on the Saturday before the election. However, you should submit your request as far in advance of the election as possible to ensure there is sufficient time for the board to mail, fax, or e-mail you a ballot. Your marked ballot must be returned by mail.

2. By fax: You may fax your absentee ballot request to the board of elections of the county in which your voting residence is located. The board must receive your request by noon on the Saturday before the election. You may request that the board fax, mail, or e-mail your ballot to you, but you must return your marked ballot by mail.

3. By e-mail: Your completed and signed absentee ballot request form may be e-mailed to the board of elections office in the county in which you are registered to vote. The board must receive your request by noon on the Saturday before the election. You may request that the board fax, mail, or e-mail your ballot to you, but you must return your marked ballot by mail.

4. In-person: Once absentee ballots are available, you may go to your county board of elections office or other site designated by the board of elections to cast your ballot in person.  If you are a UOCAVA voter voting in person on the day before an election or on Election Day, you may vote in person at the office of your county board of elections only. An application delivered in person to the board of elections office must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

When the board of elections issues your ballot, it will provide you with information on how to track the status of your ballot in the Centralized Ballot Tracking System.

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot

If you have requested an absentee ballot by noon on the Saturday before the election, but have not received it, you may use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot. If you receive your absentee ballot after submitting the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, you may vote it and return it via mail or in person. If both the absentee ballot and the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot are received by the 10th day after Election Day, the board of elections will only count the absentee ballot.

A person currently incarcerated for a felony cannot vote.  If the person has a felony conviction, but is granted parole, judicial release, final discharge or is out of prison on probation, the person may vote but must register to vote again in order to be able to vote.  The felony conviction cancels the prior registration.

Inmates who are not in prison for a felony conviction (e.g. awaiting trial, or imprisoned for a misdemeanor) may vote by an absentee ballot if incarcerated on Election Day and otherwise eligible to vote.


Top Issues to Field 

For more information for voters with disabilities, find a National Disability Rights Network partner in your area.

For more information for student voters, visit the Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

Voting as a Student

As a student, you have a constitutional right to register and vote in the place you truly consider to be “home” — whether that’s your parents’ house, your apartment, or your dorm room. But before you make the important decision about where to vote, make sure you know the voting rules (and sometimes consequences) of registering to vote in that state.

More Info On Student Voting

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2016 Election Information for your state