Voting 101

We understand that voting can feel complicated. The Hamilton County Board of Elections is here to help you understand the process and equip all eligible citizens with info to vote. This page explains how the voting process works, from registering to casting a ballot to learning the results of each election.

Voting 101

Get ready for Election

Election Day

  • Voters bring acceptable forms of identification to the polls (see below)
  • Voters cast ballots in their correct polling location between 6:30am and 7:30pm

Votes are tallied

Video Library

How To Register to Vote

Join Tina, one of the BOE’s Registration Editors, as she walks you through the process of updating your voter registration and registering to vote for the first time.

How To Apply for Absentee Vote by Mail

Join Jay, one of the BOE’s Recruitment and Training Supervisors, as he walks you through the process of applying for your Absentee Vote by Mail ballot.

What Happens to Absentee Vote by Mail Ballot

Join Kyle, one of the BOE’s Campaign Finance Specialists, as he walks you through the process of what happens to your absentee Vote by Mail ballot.

Filling in an Absentee Vote by Mail ballot

Join Shanon, one of the BOE’s Registration Officials, as she helps you understand how to fill out an Absentee Vote by Mail ballot.

What Happens to Absentee Vote by Mail Ballot

Join Kelly, one of the BOE’s Election Coordinators, as she helps you understand what happens to your Absentee Ballot once it gets to the Board of Elections.

How to Vote on Election Day

Join Stacey, PEO Coordinator, as she walks you through how to vote on Election Day.

What Happens to Election Day ballots

Join Homana, Administrative Associate, as she explains what happens to election day ballots.

Provisional Ballots Explained

Join Umeirra, Communications and Compliance Officer, as she explains what happens to Provisional Ballots.

Voting at the Polls

Each voter signs the ePoll Book and is given a paper ballot to mark with a pen. After marking their ballot the voter casts the ballot by feeding it into the Vscan. Be sure to wait for the American Flag to appear on screen. The paper ballot is secured in the locked ballot box below.


The Voting Process (video)!

The Access Station is available to voters who may have difficulty marking a paper ballot with a pen. This is an electronic ballot marking system with a touch screen, a hand-held controller option, and audio instructions are available. The voter prints out their marked ballot and then casts it into the Vscan (shown above).

Accessible Voting (video)

What are acceptable forms of ID for voting?

Acceptable PHOTO ID: (must not be expired)

  • Ohio Driver License/Ohio State ID/Ohio Interim Documentation (must show your name and current or former address)
  • State of Ohio or Fed. Govt photo ID (must show your name and current address)
  • Ohio Concealed Weapons ID (must show your name and current address)

Acceptable DOCUMENTS as ID: (must show your name, current address, and be dated within 12 months)

  • Utility Bill
  • Bank Statement
  • Government Check
  • Payroll Check
  • Government Document
  • Military ID Issued by Dept. of Defense

A voter presenting an Ohio driver license or Ohio ID card that shows voter’s former address is permitted to cast a regular ballot so long as the voter’s current residential address has been updated with the Board and appears in the official poll list of registered voters for that precinct.

Voters who do not provide any ONE of these documents at the precinct will still be able to vote using a provisional ballot and providing the last four digits of their social security number or appearing at the Board Office within 7 days of Election Day to provide ID.

What is a provisional ballot?

A provisional ballot is used to record a vote if a voter’s eligibility is in question. The most common reasons for someone to vote provisionally is because they did not update their current address, they did not bring ID to the polls or they may have requested an Absentee ballot and not voted it yet. By voting provisional, a voter has a second chance to cast a ballot in the election.

The voter is given their precinct ballot to vote but it is cast ‘provisionally’ until election officials at the Board can verify the voter’s eligibility to vote in the particular precinct at that election. All validly cast provisional ballots are counted in the Official Count in each election.

What’s fact and what’s fiction?

Many things you’ve heard about elections and voting are inaccurate. Discover the truth.

View voting myths