Understanding Ohio’s Election Law

Ohio VIP has found that trying to understand all of the State and Federal Laws, including years of Ohio Secretary of State Directives and Advisories, that determine Ohio’s election procedure can be an overwhelming and daunting task.  That is why we have presented the following information in an attempt to explain certain procedures and definitions in the law as we find them in practice today.

The procedures diagrammed here represent the crux of what we believe are the most important processes in the formation and management or our voter rolls: the processing of new voter registrations, the classification of a registration as “active” or “confirmation” status and the cancellation of voter registrations.

The diagrams below give specific reference to the the law, directive or advisory from which the information was obtained.  If state law is identical to federal law, then the state law is cited here. Click on the diagrams below to enlarge.

Ohio’s Procedure for the Processing of New Voter Registrations

Ohio's Voter Registration Process ORC 3503.19 8.28.14






Four Reasons an “Active” voter is reclassified to “Confirmation” Status

Ohio. Confirmation Voter definition spreadsheet. 8.28.14






Seven Reasons for the Cancellation of an Ohio Voter Registration

Cancellation of Voter Registration Diagram ORC 3503.21 8.28.14






Links to Election Laws, Directives and Advisories 


Ohio Revised Code (ORC): http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/

Ohio Secretary of State Directives and Advisories:http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/elections/electionsofficials/Rules.aspx


Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA): http://www.eac.gov/about_the_eac/help_america_vote_act.aspx,

National Voting Rights Act of 1993 (NVRA): http://www.eac.gov/national_voter_registration_act/