Home Politics Elections Election 2018 The do’s and don’ts of Election Day 2018

The do’s and don’ts of Election Day 2018

8 min read
Athens County Board of Elections. File Photo by Morgan McCarthy.

Everything you should and shouldn’t do when casting your ballot today.

Following several months of conversation and debate about the potential outcomes and impacts of the midterm elections, Election Day is here, and more than one hundred million eligible voters are expected to be casting their ballots.

While it’s important to go into the voting both educated on the candidates and issues, it’s equally as important to go the polls familiar with the rules and regulations of your polling location. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts at Ohio’s polling locations.


Try and vote without having registered. While some states permit same-day voter registration, Ohio isn’t one of them. Ohio’s voter registration deadline is usually around a month before Election Day.

If you didn’t register to vote in time for this election, make sure to register for the next one! Registration only takes a few minutes, and it never hurts to register in advance of the deadline, even if you aren’t sure if you’ll be voting in the next election.

Wear campaign merchandise to the polls. Campaigning for a candidate, an issue, or a political party within 100 feet of a polling location is prohibited on Election Day in Ohio.

The definition of campaigning at the polls is a little ambiguous, but the intention is to prevent persuasion of a voter on a candidate or issue. While you might be excited to vote for someone or something, leave the political shirt or pins at home and save them for later in the day.

Take a picture of your ballot or yourself at the polls. In Ohio, it’s technically against the law to take a picture of your ballot. While it’s unlikely that you’ll get in trouble for posting a picture of your ballot on Instagram or Twitter, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.


Check your voter registration and your polling location beforehand. Before you head to the polls, make sure to check and ensure that you are registered to vote. You can check your voter registration online here.

Additionally, it’s good to check your polling location before you head out, even if you think you know where it is. Polling locations change sometimes, so save yourself the hassle and make sure you’re heading to the right one. You can check your polling location online here.

Research the candidates and the issues so you can make the best decision for you. In the age of the Internet, it’s easy to learn about a candidate really quickly. If you’re still not sure who you’re voting for, don’t sweat it. Go online and do your research. Watch debates between candidates. If one candidate is an incumbent, check out their voting record. Look at the issues they are for or against and see if they align with what you believe in.

The New Political published a comprehensive 2018 Voter’s Guide about the local candidates running in various races and the issues on the ballot, as well as some of the statewide races. If you’re voting in Athens, make sure to check it out.

Bring valid ID to vote. Ohio requires that voters bring ID with them on Election Day. Some forms of valid identification include an unexpired Ohio driver’s license, a state or federal government issued identification card, or a military identification. For a full list of acceptable ID in Ohio, contact your local board of elections.

Expect to wait in a line and plan your day out accordingly. The lines are expected to be long at the polls today, especially for a midterm election, so don’t get discouraged when you get to your polling location. The most crowded times are usually before people go to work, during lunch hours when people go and vote on their lunch breaks, and after people come home from work. If you can avoid voting at these peak times, the lines mid-morning and mid-afternoon will likely be shorter.

Ohio’s polling locations are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., so try and plan accordingly by figuring out the best time for your schedule.

Exercise your right. Vote, vote, vote! This election is arguably one of the most important elections in recent history, but that’s not to say that every election before it wasn’t just as important. Fulfill your civic duty and get out to vote!

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