This is the first in a series of articles pertaining to voting in the upcoming 2012 General Election with the purpose of restoring confidence in the electoral process. The information in these articles will come predominately from the Ohio Revised Code and the various publications from the office of the Secretary of State.
2012 Election – Eligibility to Vote
Voting in the State of Ohio is right and a responsibility afforded citizens of Ohio if they meet these qualifications.
- 1. You are a Citizen of the United States 3503.01 3503.07
- You will be a resident of Ohio for at least 30 days immediately before the November 6, 2012 election. 3503.01 3503.07
- You have registered to vote in Ohio for at least 30 days immediately before the November 6, 2012 election. 3503.01 3503.07
- You will be at least 18 years old on or before November 6, 2012. 3503.01 3503.07
- You are not incarcerated (in prison or jail) for a felony conviction under the laws of this state, another state, or the United States; 2961.01 3503.04 3503.21 
- You have not been declared incompetent for voting purposes by a probate court; and3503.21 5122.301
- You have not been permanently disenfranchised for violating the election laws.
Citizen of the United States
A citizen of the United States is any person holding a legal U.S. birth certificate or has become a naturalized U.S. citizen in accordance with the laws of the United States.
Resident of Ohio
Your residence is important because it determines the contests for which you are eligible to vote (e.g., the proper congressional district, school district, etc.). Your voting residence is determined by the county board of elections using guidelines established by Ohio law (R.C. 3503.02). Your voting residence is the place in which your habitation is fixed and to which, whenever you are absent, you intend to return. Also, your voting residence is a location you consider to be a permanent, not a temporary, residence. You will not lose your voting residency in Ohio if you leave temporarily and intend to return to Ohio, unless you are absent from the state for four consecutive years. You may contact your local board of elections if you have any questions regarding your specific situation. 3503.01  3503.02 O.R.C. 
(Exception: You will not lose your residency after four years if your absence from Ohio is due to your employment with Ohio or the U.S. government, including military service, unless you vote in, or permanently move to, another state or country.) 3503.01  3503.02 O.R.C. 
If you do not have a fixed place of habitation, but you are a consistent or regular inhabitant of a shelter or other location to which you intend to return, you may use that shelter or other location as your residence for purposes of registering to vote. 3503.01  3503.02 O.R.C. 
Infirm or disabled soldiers who are inmates of a national home for such soldiers, who are citizens of the United States and have resided in this state thirty days immediately preceding any election, and who are otherwise qualified as to age and residence within the county and township shall have their lawful residence in the county and township in which such home is located. 3503.03
Registered to Vote
Registering to vote is a requirement to ensure that the person voting has met the requirements above. The State of Ohio has adopted many ways to register to vote.
Registering to vote must be done in person or by mail. 
Registering to vote in person may be done at one of the following locations: 
- The office of the Secretary of State;
- The office of any of the 88 county boards of elections;
- The office of the registrar or any deputy registrar of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles;  3503.11
- Public libraries; 3503.10
- Public high schools or vocational schools; 3503.10
- County treasurers’ offices; or3503.10
- Offices of designated agencies, including:
- The Department of Job and Family Services; 3503.10
- The Department of Health (including the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program); 3503.10
- The Department of Mental Health; 3503.10
- The Department of Developmental Disabilities; 3503.10
- The Rehabilitation Services Commission; or3503.10
- The office of any state-assisted college or university responsible for providing assistance to disabled students.
Registering to vote by mail may be done by obtaining a voter registration application at one of the above locations, by computer, a voter registration drive or by contacting your local Board of Elections. 
If you have Internet access, you may download a voter registration form from the Secretary of State’s website: http://www.OhioSecretaryofState.gov. You may also use the National Mail Voter Registration form available at: www.eac.gov/voter_resources/register_to_vote.aspx. 
If you desire, you may contact your local Board of Elections, and request that they send you an application.
With these established methods to obtain a voter registration application, no one can state that they cannot obtain such application.
When you have finished your voter registration application, please review it carefully for completeness and accuracy. You may either personally deliver, or send by U.S. mail, your voter registration application to a county board of elections or the Secretary of State’s office. You or another person acting on your behalf, also may deliver your application to one of the offices listed above, but you should ensure your application reaches the office of a board of elections or the Secretary of State no later than the voter registration deadline, the 30th day before the election at which you want to vote. 
What is the registration deadline?
Ohio has a 30-day voter registration requirement. However, if the voter registration deadline falls on a Sunday or a legal holiday, then the deadline is extended to the next day that is not a Sunday or a legal holiday.. 3503.01 
Registration by U.S. mail
If you choose to register to vote using the U.S. mail, you may send your properly completed and signed registration application to the office of a county board of elections or the Secretary of State’s office. Your application must be postmarked by the voter registration deadline, the 30th day before the election, in order to be eligible to vote in that election. 
Registration in person
If you choose to register to vote in person, you may deliver your registration application to the office of a county board of elections, the Secretary of State’s office, a state or local office of a designated agency (see previous list), the office of the registrar or any deputy registrar of motor vehicles, a public high school or vocational school, a public library, the office of a county treasurer. 
Your application must be received by the voter registration deadline, the 30th day before the election, in order to be eligible to vote in that election. 
You also may entrust your completed registration application to another person for delivery to elections officials. However, that person must deliver your application to a county board of elections or the Secretary of State’s office within 10 days after you completed the application, or by the voter registration deadline, whichever is earlier. 
How to fill out a voter registration form will be written in a future blog article.
Eighteen Years Old
To vote in the 2012 General Election, your birthday must be on or before November 6, 2012. . 3503.01 
You Are Not Incarcerated (in Prison or Jail) for a Felony Conviction
… a person currently serving time in jail or prison for a felony conviction can neither register to vote nor vote. An otherwise qualified person convicted of a misdemeanor may vote, and an otherwise qualified person who had been convicted of a felony may register and vote while on probation or parole, or after completing his or her jail or prison sentence. 2961.01 3503.04 3503.21 
The voter registration of a person who is incarcerated on a felony conviction is cancelled; once that person has completed his or her jail or prison sentence, or is on probation, parole or community control, he or she must re-register to vote by the registration deadline before voting. 2961.01 3503.21 
Not Been Declared Incompetent for Voting Purposes by a Probate Court
Unless a person has appeared before the local county probate court judge and has been found to be Incompetent to Vote, this person may vote. 3503.21 5122.301 
Not Been Permanently Disenfranchised for Violating the Election Laws
A person who has twice been convicted of a violation of Ohio’s elections laws is permanently barred from voting in Ohio. 
 Title XXXV, Ohio Revised Code
 2012 Ohio Voter Information Guide
Issued by the office of the Ohio Secretary of State
- Independent Voters: The Most Important Electorate (cincinnatipoliticalactivism.wordpress.com)