Multiple Ohio voted stickers
Credit: Jeff Haynes / Signal Cleveland

The August special election was a practice run, and the time is near for our regularly scheduled civic exercise. 

The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 7 contest is a month away, Oct. 10. Now is the time to make sure you have your ID ready. New Ohio voter ID laws are in effect. The legislation requires photo ID to vote in-person and includes new mail-in and early in-person voting policies.

When voting in person, either early or on Election Day, voters must present a photo ID. These are the acceptable options:

• Ohio driver’s license-unexpired

• State of Ohio ID card-unexpired

• Interim ID form issued by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles

• U.S. passport

• U.S. passport card

• U.S. military ID card

• Ohio National Guard ID card

• U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ID card

Ohio identification cards are free from Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ deputy registrar license agencies (locations). This interactive page can help you determine which personal documents you will need to bring to prove your identity.

Ohio ID Law – August Impact?

During the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Aug. 29 meeting, Board Member Inajo Davis Chappell wondered if the changes to Ohio’s voting laws impacted the August special election, Documenters noted. Davis pointed to the number of rejected provisional ballots.

Voters can use a provisional ballot when their eligibility is in question or when they forget to bring ID to the polling place.

Board Director Anthony Perlatti said the number of ballots rejected because of missing identification went up. Of 786 rejected provisional ballots, the board rejected 137 for that reason. That is up from 24 in the November 2022 election.

Making a list

Here are some other things for your voting planner so you can make your vote count:

Check your voter registration status

   – Ensure that you are registered to vote.  You can do this online or in person or by calling the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections at 216-443-8683 (VOTE).

Consider Early In-Person Voting

   – Early In-Person Voting in Ohio starts on October 11 and includes the Saturday and Sunday before Election Day. This can be a convenient option if you have a busy schedule or want to avoid long lines.

November 7, 2023 General Election Early Voting Hours at the Board of Elections

Weekdays*October 11, 2023 – October 27, 20238:00 AM – 5:00 PM
MondayOctober 30, 20237:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m
TuesdayOctober 31, 20237:30 AM – 8:30 PM
Wednesday – FridayNovember 1-3, 20237:30 AM – 7:30 PM
SaturdayNovember 4, 20238:00 AM – 4:00 PM
SundayNovember 5, 20231:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Early In-Person voting ends the Sunday before Election Day. Source: Cuyahoga County Board of Elections

* Weekdays are denoted as Monday through Friday

Request an absentee ballot

   – Beginning Oct. 11, ballots will be sent to voters who prefer to vote by mail. You need to request a vote-by-mail application by Oct. 31. Applications can be requested online or by printing out the form and mailing it to the P.O. box listed or by calling the board.

    – When completing your vote-by-mail ballot, follow the instructions very carefully. Be sure to fill in your birthdate and your driver’s license or state ID number or the last four digits of your Social Security number.

If you are using one of the other approved forms of ID, you will need to provide a copy of both the front and back. For a U.S. passport, that means a copy of the ID page of the passport that includes the voter’s name, photo and other identifying information, including the expiration date.

Create a plan for voting day

   – If you decide to cast your vote in-person on Election Day, map out how you’ll get to your polling place and when you’ll go. Ensure you have enough time to cast your ballot. High turnout could mean long lines.

Encourage others to vote   

– Encourage your friends and family to register and vote as well.

Editor (she/her)
Helen, a longtime journalist at News 5 in Cleveland and ABC News, brings knowledge of television news and community reporting to the Signal Cleveland newsroom. An alum of the University of Michigan’s Knight-Wallace Fellowship, Helen has been thinking for years about innovative ways to center news on community interests.