Answers to Some Big Questions About How You Vote in Tuesday's Ohio Primary
Here are some answers from Ohio’s Secretary of State’s office to other questions about Tuesday’s vote. If you have more, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on our facebook page, and we’ll do our best to find and add the answers.
Why didn’t the state just get rid of the district delegate section on the Republican ballot if those votes don’t matter?
The Republican primary ballot is set by state law. And while the legislature changed Ohio to a winner-take-all state this year, it did not change the law on how the ballot is laid out.
What happens to votes for candidates who have dropped out of the race, but whose names still appear on the ballot?
The deadline for a candidate to withdraw from the ballot and have their name not appear was Jan. 5th, so ballots could be printed on time.
The deadline for a Presidential candidate to withdraw and not have votes for them count was February 4th. All the Presidential candidate’s names as certified on the official form of the ballot will remain printed on the ballot. Votes for all the Presidential candidates—with the exception of Rand Paul, who withdrew by Feb. 4th— will be tabulated on Election Night.
A non-Presidential candidate may withdraw at any time before the election, but the withdrawn candidate’s name will only be removed from the ballot if the withdrawal happened on or before Jan. 5th. If a non-Presidential candidate withdrew after that date, , they will still appear on the ballot, but a notice will be posted in the polling places and on an insert mailed with absentee ballots to let voters know that votes for that candidate will not count.
If a candidate was in the race when I voted early and then dropped out, what happens to my vote?
If you voted for a Presidential candidate who did not withdraw before Ohio’s deadline, your vote will still be tabulated and awarded to the candidate you choose.
How do I vote in the Republican primary if I've been a Democrat or vice versa?
Ohio is an affiliation state – meaning you don’t register with a party, but instead become affiliated with a party when you vote in a partisan primary election. If a voter is not yet affiliated or is affiliated and wishes to change their affiliation and vote in a different party’s primary, they can do so by simply requesting their desired party ballot. However, they should know that they will then become affiliated with that party unless they reverse the decision during a future primary election.
How do I vote in a Republican or Democratic primary if I've been a nonpartisan voter?
Just indicate which party ballot you want when you arrive at the polls or when you request your absentee ballot. However, you should know that you will then become affiliated with that party unless you reverse the decision during a future primary election.
If I am listed as a Democrat or Republican, how do I change that to nonpartisan?
You will have to request an issues-only ballot during the primary election.
If I haven't voted since the last presidential race, am I still a registered voter?
Yes, but if you are concerned that you are not registered or that your registration may be out of date, you should go to MyOhioVote.com to review your registration.
What is the order of the candidates' names on the ballot (alphabetical, date when filed, etc?) and does that order change ballot-by-ballot?
The order will be different precinct-to-precinct. The Ohio Constitution (Article V) and the Ohio Revised Code Sections 3505.03 & 3505.04 require ballots give each candidate’s name reasonably equal position by rotation of the order.
The names of all candidates for an office must be arranged in alphabetical order in a group under the title of that office to begin with, and then must be rotated from one precinct to another, except when the number of candidates for a particular office is the same as the number of candidates to be elected to that office (i.e., uncontested races). The least common multiple of the number of names in each of the several groups of candidates determines the number of series to be printed.
How can I make sure my vote is counted if I vote by mail?
Beginning in the fall 2015, Secretary Husted has required all boards of election to allow voters to track their absentee ballots online. Visit MyOhioVote.com/VoterToolkit to track your ballot back to the board of elections.
What are the early in-person voting hours?
There is a handy calendar located here: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/elections/Voters/votingSchedule.aspx
Voting began in Ohio four weeks before the election, on February 17th. Voters can cast ballots 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via absentee ballot. You can also vote this Saturday March 12th and Sunday March 13th. You can contact your board of elections to find out where your early vote center is: http://www.sos.state.oh.us/sos/elections/electionsofficials/boeDirectory.aspx
Who decided not to have Ohio's primary on Super Tuesday this year and why?
This was a decision that was made by the legislature and would be best answered by the sponsor of House Bill 153.
Why does Ohio have a primary instead of a caucus? What’s the difference between the two?
Ohio, like most states, uses the primary system instead of the caucus system in accordance with the state constitution and the Ohio Revised Code (Article V, Section 7, and ORC 3513.12 & 3513.121(A)).
Why are judges picked in partisan primaries, yet they appear without party ID on the general election ballot?
This is a requirement of state law – Ohio Revised Code 3505.04 and 3513.08.
Does everyone in Ohio vote on the same type of equipment? If so, what is it? If not, what are the differences?
Voting machines are chosen by county boards of election, so if you have recently moved, you may see a difference in the way you vote. Counties must only employ equipment that is approved for use by the Federal Election Commission and the Ohio Board of Voting Machine Examiners.
Many Ohio counties present voters with a paper ballot that the voter must fill-in to cast their votes. Other counties have touch screen machines. A map of what type of equipment is used in each county is available here.