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Your Ohio midterm election voting questions answered

A hand holds an Ohio Voted sticker outside a polling site.
Jo Ingles
Statehouse News Bureau
What questions do you have about the November midterm election? Fill out the form below and we'll get you an answer.

We at Ideastream Public Media have partnered with America Amplified to answer questions about how to participate in the 2022 midterm elections. Here are some of the top questions from the Buckeye State we have answered thus far.

Do you have a question we haven’t answered yet? Submit your question on our form on our Election 2022 page or by texting “IDEASTREAM” to 855-670-1777.

Q: How do I vote by mail?

To sign up for mail-in (also called "absentee") voting, visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is three days before the election in which you want to vote, but voters can submit their application any time. If mailed, absentee ballots must be postmarked by the day before the election in order to be counted. You can also return your absentee ballot in-person to your county board of elections before the close of the polls at 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

Q: I fear that my vote would be thrown out because my signature does not match what is on file. How do I change what is on file? 

This is a concern for many voters and we’ve done reporting on this issue in the past. The state compiles a catalog of your signature from various signed materials like your voter application and other sources. If a signature differs significantly from what is in that database, you will be sent an 11-S form that will ask you to re-sign for proof of signature.

Q: How do you write in a candidate’s name?

If any write-in candidates have filed with the state, there will be a place on your ballot for those write-in candidates. Only votes for candidates who have filed a declaration of intent with the state are counted. To find out about write-in candidates listed for your local races, you'll need to contact your county board of elections.

Q: Am I registered? Where can I vote?

To look up your voter registration, polling place and more, log in to the Ohio Secretary of State’s website and fill in your information there. If you are unable to locate your voter registration information, but believe you are registered to vote, contact your county board of elections.

Q: Can partisan election monitors carry guns to the polls?

According to Ohio's Secretary of State, state law prohibits election observers from carrying firearms into a polling place. You can learn more about being an election observer or monitor at this website.

Q: I sent in an application for an absentee ballot. When can I expect the ballot to arrive in the mail?

You can track your absentee ballot by logging in to Ohio's Voter Toolkit. You can also reach out to your county board of elections with any questions about the status of your absentee ballot.

Q: I am moving right around election day. If I vote absentee at my current address and submit my ballot while I still have my old ID, but then change my ID to my new address before election day, will that invalidate my absentee ballot?

We reached out to the Secretary of State’s office for an answer and they shared information on the residency requirements for voters and on ID requirements. Presumably you are registered to vote at your old address, and that absentee ballot should be valid for this election.

Q: Where is the best place to find information about exactly what I will be voting on (the actual government positions) and all the [candidates] that are running? 

The League of Women Voters has a good nonpartisan guide to the candidates and their views that you can find at vote411.org. Make sure to check back regularly because the site will be updated with candidate responses to questions.

Q: I’d like to know how and when mail-in ballots are counted in Ohio or does every county have their own ways of doing it? 

According to the Ohio Secretary of State, absentee or mail-in ballots are the first to be counted on Election Night in all Ohio counties.

Q: I am trying to pull together easy to understand information about voting for my church congregation. Some young people are not registered yet. Where and how do they register? Can they register online or get a registration form online?

Anyone who is eligible to vote can register online at the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. The deadline to register for the November 8 midterm election was October 11.

Q: What U.S. Congressional district am I in, and who are the candidates?

A: You can look up your congressional district on the Secretary of State’s website here. You can also use this link to find your sample ballot, including candidates that are running to represent you on that site at this link.

You can also follow our elections coverage to evaluate the issues that matter most to you.

Q: How do you get accurate information on what candidates stand for on all levels of government?

A: The League of Women Voters has a good nonpartisan guide to the candidates' views that you can find at vote411.org. Make sure to check back regularly because some candidates may not have submitted their responses yet for the midterms.

Q: I go to college in a different county than my permanent address. Do I have to apply to vote in that county?

A: The Ohio Secretary of State’s office has this guidance for college student voters on its website:

“A college student may vote using his or her Ohio school residence address if the student does not intend to return to a different permanent address. When a college student registers to vote from his or her school address, the school residence is considered to be the place to which the student’s habitation is fixed and to which, whenever the student is absent, the student intends to return, and is considered by the student to be his or her permanent residence at the time of voting.”

You can also find more details on requesting an absentee ballot or registering in a new county here.

The deadline to register to vote in Ohio was Oct. 11, 2022. You can register or check your registration here.

This post will be updated as we continue to answer questions about how to vote in the upcoming midterm election. 

Updated: October 12, 2022 at 4:26 PM EDT