A Pandemic Voter’s Guide For Ohio

Posted on:

< < Back to

ATHENS, Ohio (OVR) — The coronavirus pandemic has forced elections officials to expand options for voters in November’s general election. This means you will have more ways to vote, including mail-in ballots and early in-person voting. But it also means many people have questions about how to vote. Here are answers to some common questions about voter registration, voting by mail, and early voting in person.

Ohio's state seal


How do I know if I’m registered?

You can check your registration status online.

How do I register to vote?

You can register online. You’ll need your driver’s license, name, date of birth, address, and the last four digits of your Social Security number. If you don’t want to register online, you can fill out a form and send it to your county board of elections.

What’s the deadline for registration?

Ohio’s registration deadline is October 5th.


What are my options for early voting in person?

Early in-person voting begins on October 6th and ends on November 2nd.

Where do I vote early — is it the same as my usual polling place? 

Each county has one early in-person voting location. You can find your polling location here. Days and times early polling sites are open will vary. You can view the early voting schedule here.

Online Tools For Early Voting 

For additional information about early voting check out Ohio’s voter tool kit.

Kentucky mail-in ballot.
Kentucky mail-in ballot. [Tajah McQueen | Ohio Valley ReSource]


Am I eligible to vote by mail?

All registered Ohio voters can vote by mail. You can check your registration status here.

How do I request a ballot to mail in? What is the deadline?

Ohio voters have 3 options to request an absentee ballot. You can print your request online and mail it to your county board of elections. You can have an application mailed to you or you can make your own application and mail it.

What are my options for returning the ballot — do I have to mail it? 

You have options. If you return your ballot by mail, it has to be postmarked no later than November 2nd and received no later than November 13th. You can also return your ballot in person to your county election board or place it in a county drop box. If you choose not to vote absentee, but have already requested an absentee ballot, you may vote with a provisional ballot on Election Day.

What is the deadline for returning my ballot?

Absentee ballots must be postmarked by November 2nd and they must be received by November 13th 2020.

Online Tools For Absentee Ballots

For additional information about absentee voting in Ohio, click here.

Learn how to make your own absentee ballot request form here.

Click here to apply for an absentee ballot.

A Kentucky polling place during the 2016 election.
A Kentucky polling place during the 2016 election. [Jeff Young | Ohio Valley ReSource]


Where do I go to vote? Has my polling location changed?

Voting locations will vary by county. Check out Ohio’s polling location search website to see if your polling location has changed.

Will I need identification?

Yes, you will need identification if you plan to vote in-person. Acceptable forms of ID are photo ID, military ID, utility bill, bank statement, or paycheck. Unacceptable forms of ID include Social Security cards, passport, birth certificate, passport, or insurance card. Click here for additional information on identification requirements.

How long will polling sites be open?

Polling sites will be open from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm. If voters are in line by 7:30, they will be able to cast their ballots.


We asked our listeners if they had any specific voting questions that they would like the ReSource to answer. Answers are provided by Maggie Sheehan, communications director for Ohio’s Secretary of State.

Q I have requested an absentee ballot. Will I be able to take that to a secure drop box, as opposed to returning it by mail? — Vicki Runnion

Maggie Sheehan: “If an Ohio voter received an absentee ballot in the mail they have until November 2nd to mail it or until November 3rd at 7:30 p.m. to bring it to their board of elections.”


Click here to visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.  For a fun take on election questions, comedian Stephen Colbert has this “Better Know a Ballot” segment on voting in Ohio.

And keep sending us your questions! If you are unsure of something or have concerns, then others probably do, too. Use the form below and we’ll try our best to get an answer.

This story is part of “America Amplified, Election 2020,” a public media initiative using community engagement to inform and strengthen local, regional and national journalism. America Amplified is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

America Amplified Logo
[America Amplified]