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Ohio Voting Guide: What To Know About The 2018 Election


We’ve reached the midterms, and voters in every state in the country will be going to the polls on Tuesday. This election will have far-reaching consequences by determining who controls Congress, state governments, and more.

Once again, Ohio is at the heart of it all, deciding contests for every statewide office, as well as a U.S. Senate race, all of the state's seats in the U.S. House and a constitutional amendment on drug sentencing.

WOSU will be bringing you comprehensive coverage of the 2018 elections, both in Ohio and around the country. Watch live results come in and follow the latest election updates.

Below, we have answers to all your questions on voting, who's running, and where to find results.
Where Do I Vote?

Polls open in Ohio at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. on November 6, 2018.

Your polling location varies depending on where you live, and it might not even be the closest station to you. Find your official polling location on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. There, you can also see a sample ballot that includes your options for the Ohio legislature, local levies and ballot initiatives.

(Have you ever wondered how polling locations are chosen? WOSU recently investigated this question as part of our Curious Cbus series.)

The deadlineto register to vote in Ohio was October 9. Early voting began on October 10 and ends November 5 at 2 p.m.

But if you still have your absentee ballot, you can submit it in person to the Board of Elections until 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. You can also send it by mail if it’s postmarked by Monday, but any late-received absentee ballots will not be counted for initial Election Day tallies.

Do I Need Voter ID?

Yes, but not necessarily a picture ID. First off, check here to make sure you're registered to vote and your information is up-to-date.

Ohio law requires you to bring a form of acceptable identification, which includes:

  • An unexpired Ohio driver’s license or state ID card with present or former address, as long as your present residential address is in the official list of registered voters for that precinct;
  • A military ID;
  • A photo ID issued by the United States government or the State of Ohio, that contains your name and current address, and that has not passed its expiration;
  • An original or copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other document with your name and present address. ("Current" means in the last 12 months.)

Check the entire list of acceptable IDs here.

If you do not bring an acceptable form of ID, or if your eligibility is in question, you can still vote using a provisional ballot. If you do that, you must go to the Board of Elections within a week to provide that ID for your vote to be counted in the final election totals.

What Am I Voting On?

You’ve got a lot of boxes to check this election: Every statewide office holder in Ohio is term-limited, so there are five open races this year. Ohio also has two open House races and a controversial ballot issue to decide, as well as a number of incumbents facing tough challenges.

Here’s a rundown of what you can expect, and who’s running for what offices.

Issue 1

Issue 1 is the only statewide issue on the ballot this election. The proposed constitutional amendment has a long official title: “To Reduce Penalties for Crimes of Obtaining, Possessing, and Using Illegal Drugs.” And it’s drawn a lot of attention, as well as money, from both in and out of the state.

Issue 1 would mandate that possession and use of drugs like fentanyl, heroin, meth and cocaine be considered a misdemeanor instead of a felony. That means offenders would avoid jail time unless it’s their third offense in two years. The proposal would require money saved from a smaller incarcerated population go to drug rehabilitation programs, and would provide ways for inmates to get early release through participating in rehabilitation, work and educational programs.

Here’s a primer on the arguments for and against Issue 1.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray, left, and Ohio Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine wave to the crowd before a debate at Marietta College on Monday.
Credit Paul Vernon / Associated Press
Associated Press
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray, left, and Ohio Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine wave to the crowd before a debate at Marietta College.

Ohio Governor

After eight years in office, Gov. John Kasich is leaving an open seat. There are four candidates running to replace him, each paired with a candidate for lieutenant governor.

  • Richard Cordray, with running mate Betty Sutton (Democratic)
  • Mike DeWine, with running mate Jon Husted (Republican)
  • Constance Gadell-Newton, with running mate Brett Joseph (Green)
  • Travis Irvine, with running mate Todd Grayson (Libertarian)

See our complete coverage of the Ohio governor contest.

U.S. Senate

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is seeking reelection for a third term in Congress. His Republican opponent is U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci.

Here's where the two candidates stand on major issues.

U.S. House

Ohio has a number of high-profile U.S. House races this election.

In Central Ohio, we have the rematch between Democrat Danny O’Connor and Republican Rep. Troy Balderson, who won an August special election by a margin of less than 1 percent. Joe Manchik is running as the Green Party candidate. This contest will determine who takes over the next full term in January.

Find out more about Ohio’s 12th District general election race.

Other notable U.S. House races include Ohio’s 1st District, 7th District, 14th District, and 16th District.

Credit Facebook

Ohio Secretary Of State

  • Kathleen Clyde (Democratic)
  • Frank LaRose (Republican)
  • Dutin Nanna (Libertarian)

Find out more about the Secretary of State candidates and their platforms.

Ohio Attorney General

  • Steve Dettelbach (Democratic)
  • Dave Yost (Republican)

Find out more about the Attorney General candidates and their platforms.

Ohio Auditor

  • Robert Coogan (Libertarian)
  • Keith Faber (Republican)
  • Zack Space (Democratic)

Find out more about the Auditor candidates and their platforms.

Ohio Treasurer

  • Rob Richardson (Democratic)
  • Robert Sprague (Republican)

Find out more about the Treasurer candidates and their platforms.

Ohio Supreme Court

  • Craig Baldwin (Republican)
  • Michael Donnelly (Democratic)
  • Mary DeGenaro (Republican)
  • Melody Stewart (Democratic)

You’ll see a few more races on your ballot, including county and city offices, state representatives, judges, and more.
And if you vote on Tuesday, make sure to take a picture of your "I Voted" sticker and send it to us! You can tag us @WOSU on Twitter or @wosupubmedia on Instagram.

Gabe Rosenberg joined WOSU in October 2016. As digital news editor, Gabe reports breaking news and edits all content for the WOSU website, as well as manages the station's social media accounts.