Information regarding future elections, including where, when, and how to vote as well as information on candidates and issues can be found on our Vote 411 voters guide here.
How do I find my precinct/ward?
You can find your precinct/ward by going on-line or by phone. The most direct way, which is located on Portage County Board of Elections website, is the “Voter Information Search” link: https://lookup.boe.ohio.gov/vtrapp/portage/vtrlookup.aspx. Enter your Last Name and First Name and click on the Submit button and your voter search results information will display. The third column lists your precinct, ward, and polling location. If you are unable to use the website link or prefer not to, then you can call the Portage County BOE at (330) 297-3511 and ask them to provide this information to you.
What is early voting?
Early voting may also be called "In-Person Absentee Voting." Registered voters may vote early at your county Board of Elections. The times and dates for early voting are on the LWV Elections Calendar here or the website of the Ohio Secretary of State here.
The schedule for in person absentee voting at the Portage County Board of Elections has changed, with the elimination of voting at the Board of Elections the day prior to the election. The Monday before the election day voting hours have been redistributed to the week before the election.
How do I vote by mail in Ohio using an absentee ballot?
There are two steps to vote by mail.
- The first step is to request an absentee ballot by completing the "Absentee Ballot Application" request, signing the form, and returning it to the Portage County Board of Elections (BOE). The current request form is available online at Absentee Request - Portage (ohio.gov) or by calling (330)297-3511 to request the form. Your ballot may be requested for each individual election beginning on January 1, or 90 days before the date of an election, whichever is earlier. Requesting your ballot early gives you more time to meet the voting deadlines. The Board of Elections will process your request and mail out your ballot.
- The second step is to vote by carefully marking your voting selections on your ballot and returning it to the Board of Elections. It can be returned in person by 7:30 PM on Election Day or by US Mail, which must be postmarked by the day before the election and received by the BOE by the 4th day after election day. A word of caution is that each ballot has the voter's name on it, so be careful not to mix up ballots in the same household. More detailed absentee ballot information is available on the Ohio Secretary of State website https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/absentee-voting/.
What are the benefits of voting by mail?
All Ohio voters whose registration information is up-to-date have the opportunity to vote in any election from the convenience of their own homes by requesting an absentee ballot. Absentee voting by mail has many benefits. You can vote early, it is convenient, it reduces the chance of lines at the polls on Election Day, it avoids any unforeseen weather conditions or circumstances on Election Day, and absentee ballots are the first votes counted on Election Night. Voters need only to fill out and return an application and their absentee ballot will be mailed to them so they may make their selections at their leisure and return their ballot to the Portage County Board of Elections ahead of Election Day. Submitting an absentee ballot request early assures taht the voting process can be completed on time.
Can I track my absentee application and absentee ballot?
A great feature of the absentee voting process is that you can "Track Your Ballot" at the Ohio Secretary of State website. Click on Portage County on the map and a new web page displays entitled "Check My Absentee Request". Click on the first box with the drop down menu and pick the election you want to track. Type in your Last Name and First Name in the appropriate boxes and click on the Submit button. This results in a display of all stages of the absentee process, including the Application Date, Application Type, Ballot Processed Date (when the Board of Elections sent you the ballot), and Ballot Received Date (when they received it back). This provides a level of confidence that your request for an absentee ballot and your voting ballot have been received and
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AN ACCEPTABLE FORM
OF ID WHEN GOING TO THE POLLS
You Will Need One of the Following FORMS OF UNEXPIRED PHOTO ID:
- Ohio driver’s license or state ID card with your name and photo. The card must be current (not expired), but it can have an old address.
- U.S. Military ID, US Dept of Veterans Affairs, or Ohio National Guard card with your name and photo (address not required).
- Unexpired government ID with your name, current address, and photo. A Student ID will not be accepted.
- U.S. Passport Book/Card
YOU CAN NO LONGER USE:
- A copy of government documents, only the original will be accepted.
- A utility bill, bank statement, government,or paycheck
- The last 4 digits of your Social Security Number.
An exception to the photo ID requirement exists for persons with a religious objection to being photographed. They can vote with the last four digits of their social security number during early voting or on Election Day AND must sign an "Affadavit of Religious Objection." The affadavit and vote will be void if the voter is found to have a currently unexpired photo ID.
BMV ISSUED LICENSES/ID CARDS
BEGINNING ON APRIL 7, 2023
Any permanent or temporary resident of Ohio 17 years of age or older qualifies for a Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) issued State ID Card free of charge IF that person:
- Does not hold a current motor vehicle license in this or any other state
- Does not hold an identification card from another state
All non-citizens who apply for a license or ID card of any kind will have a notification on their card that indicates they are not a citizen of the United States.
What does it mean to vote a provisional ballot?
If you vote a provisional ballot, it means you are casting your vote "provisionally" until election officials can verify your eligibility to vote at that particular precinct in that election. It is used to record a vote if a voter's eligibility is in question and you would otherwise not be permitted to vote at your polling place. Some examples include a change in address, when voter registration information is not updated, or when the poll list at your voting location has a notation indicating a voting eligibility concern, such as an absentee ballot has already been requested. The content of a provisional ballot is no different from a regular ballot. If you cast your provisional ballot and provide acceptable proof of identity, you typically do not need to provide any follow-up additional information to the Board of Elections. If further documentation is required of you, it must be provided be provided. For more detailed information on a provisional ballot, please click on the following Ohio Secretary of State page on Provisional Voting.
What accommodations are available for voters with disabilities?
For voters with disabilities in Ohio, there are a number of accommodations available to help you cast your vote including the use of mail-in absentee ballots, the ability to bring someone to help you cast your vote, curbside voting at all polling locations, and accessible voting machines. Know your rights before heading to your polling location:
- If you need help marking your ballot because of your disability, you can bring someone with you to help fill out your ballot so long as the individual is not your employer, an agent of your employer, an agent of your union, any candidate whose name appears on your ballot.
- You may also request help with marking your ballot from poll workers. If requested, two elections precinct officials from two different political parties will help you mark your ballot.
- It is against the law for anyone that helps you cast your ballot to tell you how to vote or tell others how you voted.
- You can also request an absentee ballot ahead of the election. Once you receive your ballot in the mail, you return via mail to the Board of Elections. All absentee ballots that are received on time and meet Ohio's legal requirements will be counted and included in the official election returns. Make sure you follow guidelines around request deadlines and post-mark deadlines to have your ballot counted.
- All polling locations by law must be physically accessible for people with disabilities including parking lots, entrances, voting machines, and accommodations for visual imparities.
- All Ohio polling locations are required to have accessible voting machines available that include features like audio-ballots, Braille touch pads, large print and high contrast print. When arriving at your polling locations, simply request to use the accessible machine.
- Curbside Voting is now more prohibitive and only available to voters who are “physically unable to enter the polling”. However, a disability claim cannot be contested by an elections official.
For more information on accommodations available to voters with disabilities in Ohio, refer to the Secretary of State's website here. More information can also be found here on Disability Rights Ohio, the non-profit corporation mandated by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (PL 107-252) to advocate for the rights of Ohio voters with disabilities and to assist the Secretary of State in fulfilling the Secretary's obligations to those voters under the federal law.
Where do I find election information?
You can find information about candidates and issues at vote411.org. Check the LWV Kent calendar of events for candidate forums usually a month before elections. You can also download our Voters' Guide to print at home.
Have more questions? Visit the site of the Portage County Board of Elections here. You can email us at the League of Women Voters of Kent, lwvkent [at] gmail.com, or call us at (330)271-6188.