Frequently Asked Questions
1. Must a voter show to an election official an acceptable proof of identity to vote a regular ballot?
Yes. If they do not, they must vote a provisional ballot.
2. Are passports an acceptable form of voter ID?
No, unless the passport is current, and the U.S. government printed the person’s current address on the passport before issuing the passport to the person. The Secretary of State’s office is not aware of any U.S. passports that are currently being issued with a citizen’s permanent address printed by the government on the passport. For more information, see Secretary of State Directive 2008-80.
3. Who is required to transport voted ballots to the board of elections after the polls close?
The ballots and required voting materials and supplies are to be transported to the board of elections by a presiding judge with a precinct election official, employee, or appointee of the board to whom an oath was given and who is a member of a different political party than the presiding judge. Please also refer to specific transport instructions provided by your board of elections for more details.
4. How should a precinct election official respond when a voter asks specific questions about candidates or issues?
Precinct election officials cannot advise, instruct, or educate voters on candidates or issues.
5. If a voter arrives by 7:29 p.m., can they still vote?
Yes. Allow any voter in line at 7:30 p.m. to vote. At 7:30 p.m. lock the doors, if possible, or direct a precinct election official to stand at the end of line and inform any voters arriving after 7:30 p.m. that the polls are closed.
6. Is there a time limit for voters to vote?
Yes. R.C. 3505.23 established a five-minute time limit when all machines are in use and voters are waiting to use them. However, precinct election officials should be flexible in enforcing that time limit and ask voters who are taking longer than normal if they need assistance or explanation.
7. Can I refuse an irate or drunken voter?
No. If necessary, the sheriff, police, or other peace officers may be called upon for assistance, but all electors should be allowed to vote. Use common sense, prudent judgment, and superior customer service when dealing with difficult voters.
8. What should a precinct election official do with a list of eligible write-in candidates provided by the board of elections?
The list should be shown to any voter who asks for a list of write-in candidates. It is not to be posted.
9. A voter enters the polling location wearing campaign attire. What do you do?
Politely ask the voter to remove or cover the items, because, by law, the polling location must be free of any campaign paraphernalia, including attire. If the voter refuses, the voter can still vote, but you must notify the board of elections of the incident.
10. A voter brings an absentee ballot to the voting location. What do you do?
Absentee ballots cannot be accepted at the polling location on Election Day. Advise the voter that he or she can take the voted absentee ballot to the board of elections office by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day or vote a provisional ballot at the voting location.
11. Does a voter actually have to show to a precinct election official the form of ID that the voter is using in relation to the prescribed form on a provisional envelope (SOS Form 12-B)?
Yes. Because the precinct election official verifies the type of ID that the voter voting a provisional ballot is providing, the voter must actually show the ID to the precinct election official. However, a voter who uses the last four digits of his or her Social Security number does not have to show the precinct election official his or her actual Social Security card.
12. Is the Secretary of State prescribed Identification Envelope Provisional Ballot Affirmation Statement (Form 12-B) that has been printed on a provisional ballot identification envelope sufficient to register a non-registered voter for future elections?
Yes. The form can be used to register a previously unregistered person. The Secretary of State-prescribed Identification Envelope-Provisional Ballot Affirmation Statement (Form 12-B) printed on a provisional ballot envelope, if completed properly, may serve several purposes. For example, it is an affirmation for providing a provisional voter’s identity and qualifications to vote and it may be used for voters who are currently registered but need to update their registration due to an address or name change.