Who is on the ballot in the next election? How do I register to vote? Find the changes to early voting days and hours for the May 2014 primary ...and more
Who can vote in a Primary Election?
A resident must register to vote at least 30 days before the election. The deadline for registering to vote in this year's primary is April 7. In order to be eligible to vote in the state of Ohio, you must meet the minimum voting age of 18. You may register to vote before turning 18 years of age as long as you will have reached the age of 18 before the next general election (November 4). Voters 17 years of age who will turn 18 on or before the general election date may register to vote and vote a 17 year old voter ballot in the primary election. The 17 year old voter ballot only includes races that carry over to the general election.
In order to vote for candidates in a primary election you must be affiliated with a specific party. Since the purpose of primary elections is for each party to choose its candidates for the general election, only voters who are registered with a particular party may vote for that party's candidates. For example, Democratic voters may only vote for Democratic candidates in the primary election.
There may also be issues on the Primary ballot and an elector can request an issues only ballot if he/she does not want to declare a political party and vote for candidates. Some examples of issues that may be on a Primary ballot can be tax levies for schools or cities, liquor laws, charter amendments, etc.
Why Primary Voting is Important
Every ten years the political party that holds the majority in Ohio General Assembly sets the district lines for the state. Because they may draw the lines to make a district's registered voters predominantly of their party, known as gerrymandering, the candidate elected in the Primary is usually assured of winning in the general election. Many times the competitive race is the primary and not the general election.