How to avoid voter registration and mail-in ballot mistakes

Written by David Siders, Civic
Engagement Coordinator, Downtown Main Library  

There are only a few days left to register to vote before the Monday, Oct. 5 deadline! The Library is here to help. We can print your voter registration form and send your completed form to the Hamilton County Board of Elections, free of charge. While you are at the Library, get free access to our computers and submit your voter registration online, opens a new window.  

Here are a few quick tips for preventing voting mistakes, including a few tips for those of you who plan to vote by mail. Make sure your voice and your vote are counted! 

Register to Vote 

  • List a phone number and e-mail address so that they can contact you with questions. 
  • Be sure to list the last four digits of your Social Security number OR your driver’s license number, or provide: 
    • Current valid photo identification issued by the state of Ohio or the federal government 
    • Military Identification 
    • Any of the following documents (dated within last 12 months) that show your name and current address: 
      • Utility bill (includes gas, electric, phone, cell phone, water) 
      • Bank statement 
      • Government check 
      • Paycheck 
      • Government or school document (other than notice of voter registration mailed by the Board of Elections) 
      • Note: A copy of one of the above is necessary ONLY if you do not provide your Ohio driver licensnumber, Ohio state identification number, or last four digits of your Social Security number on your registration/update form. 
  • Sign and date your application before Oct. 5, 2020.      

    You can submit your registration form at any Library location before the end of the day Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, or drop it off at the 24-hour drop box at the Hamilton County Board of Elections, 4700 Smith Road, Cincinnati, OH 45212.  

Vote by Mail  

According to non-partisan Common Cause Ohio, opens a new window, almost 2 million voters have already applied to vote absentee (via mail-in ballot) this November. Common Cause’s top priority is making sure that voters have the information they need so their ballots arrive safely and are counted, opens a new window. 

These tips help you ensure that your mail-in ballot request is completed accurately. Refer to this very helpful guide to watch out for common mistakes, opens a new window. Library staff can print a copy of this guide to help ensure you avoid mistakes. 

  • Make sure you include your birthdate.
  • Make sure you sign your ballot.   
  • The ballots have two sides, so be sure to turn the ballot over and complete both sides.   
  • Do not tear off the perforated tab at the bottom of the ballot; its needed to ensure your ballot is counted.   
  • A representative from the Hamilton County Board of Elections recommends putting two stamps on mail-in ballots just to be safe.
  • Your ballot must be postmarked by Nov. 2, but you should mail it in as early as possible.           

    To ensure your ballot is postmarked correctlytake it to the post office yourself and ask to have it postmarked. Do not drop it into a mailbox in the days close to the election. Not all mail is postmarked and retrieved the same day. 

For more information about voting in the 2020 election, visit our Voting Information web page, opens a new window