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Today is the last day to register for the Ohio primary election - here's what you should know

Posted: 5:08 PM, Feb 13, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-18 11:17:27-05
Photos: Events we'll be talking about in 2018

CLEVELAND — The 2020 presidential primary election in Ohio falls this year on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. Here's everything you need to know about checking your registration, seeing what's on your ballot, voting early, finding your polling place and more.

What are the primary elections?

The primary elections or the primaries are a process where voters indicate their preference of presidential candidates within a party, with the goal of narrowing the field of candidates for the general election.

How do I register to vote?

Ohio allows its residents to register to vote at the Ohio Secretary of State’s website or by mail.

The Cuyahoga Board of Elections is urging voters to make sure they are registered to vote as the voter registration and change of address deadline for the March 17 primary election is Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 9:00 p.m.

Does Ohio have open primaries?

Ohio has partially open primaries, which means voters may cross party lines when casting their votes, but they will need to declare their ballot choice.

Can I vote early?

Yes you can! Ohio has several convenient options for voters who wish to vote early, or even from home.

Absentee voting by mail: Any Ohio voter with an up-to-date registration can vote by mail from home by requesting an absentee ballot, which has many benefits: you can vote early, it's convenient, it reduces the lines on Election Day, and absentee ballots are the first votes to be counted on Election Night.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is three days before the election, but voters can submit an application any time.

To request an absentee ballot:

1. Complete, print and sign an absentee ballot request form that can be obtained here.
2. Mail the form to your county's board of elections. Find that address here.
3. Wait for the election board to mail your absentee ballot. You can track its progress here.
4 Fill out and return your voted ballot. It can ether be sent by U.S. Mail or delivered in person to your county board of elections. The ballot must be postmarked by the day before election day or received by the election board before 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

Note that if you request an absentee ballot but decide instead to vote in-person on Election Day, you must vote on a provisional ballot.

Early in-person voting: Starting on the day after the close of voter registration, which for the primary election is Feb. 19, all registered voters may request and vote an absentee ballot in person at their county board of elections or early voting centers designated by the county.

Check with your county's board of elections for specific information on early in-person voting and the location of any early voting centers.

Find complete details on absentee voting by mail and early in-person voting here.

Where can I vote?

To find polling locations in the Cuyahoga County area, click here. For polling locations statewide, click here.

What do I need to vote?

Ohio law requires the following forms of identification that may be used by a voter:

  • An unexpired Ohio driver’s license or state identification card with present or former address so long as the voter’s present residential address is printed in the official list of voters.
  • A military identification
  • A photo identification that was issued by the United States government or State of Ohio that contains the voter’s name and current address and that has an expiration date that has not passed.

What’s on my ballot?

For the March 17 elections, voters will find the following presidential candidates on their ballots, as of Feb. 13:

The Democratic candidates vying for presidency:

  • Joe Biden, former vice president
  • Mike Bloomberg, former mayor of New York
  • Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana
  • Tulsi Gabbard, congresswoman from Hawaii
  • Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota senator
  • Bernie Sanders, Vermont senator
  • Tom Steyer, billionaire hedge fund manager
  • Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts senator

Issues appearing on the ballot

Issues will vary based on the voter's county and precinct, district and other factors, but some sample issues appearing on ballots in Cuyahoga County include:

  • Proposed tax levies for facility repairs, construction and modernization of local schools
  • Proposed tax levies for city improvements

Voters may also decide who will fill offices including:

  • State representative
  • Supreme Court

Look up and take a look at your sample ballot here.

For complete voter information, head the Ohio Secretary of State's OhioVotes.gov website.

St. Patrick's Day festivities

If you vote early, here are a few things you can do Election Day instead:

The Public Square will be hosting a free St. Patrick’s Day in the Land event from 1 to 5 p.m.
Visit Cork & Lenny's, Danny's Deli or Slyman's for corn beef sandwiches of your choice.

Click here for more information.