Resources > Frequently Asked Questions
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Do I have to be registered in order to vote?
- What address may I list as my residence?
- What if I have moved or changed my name?
- Can a college student vote from their school address?
- What if I am homeless, living in a homeless shelter, or living in temporary housing?
- Where do I vote?
- Do I declare my political affiliation when I register to vote?
- May I vote on ballot issues in a Primary Election without declaring a political affiliation?
- What is Early Voting?
- May I vote if I have been convicted of a crime?
- Can I check my voter information online?
- What time are the polls open?
- How are votes counted and when are they reported?
- When are Elections held?
- Can voters be challenged?
- Can I wear campaign attire to a polling location?
- What is a Candidate Committee?
- What is a Political Party Committee?
- What is a Political Action Committee (PAC)?
- What is your Public Records Policy?
Do I have to be registered in order to vote?
Yes. In order to vote in Wayne County, you must be a resident of the county.
What address may I list as my residence?
Ohio law establishes your residence as the place to which, whenever you are absent, you have the intent to return. A post office box or a business address is not an acceptable address for your residence. Leaving for temporary purposes, such as military service or school attendance, does not result in change of residence for voting purposes, unless you register to vote in the area where you have moved.
What if I have moved or changed my name?
If you are now registered and move anywhere within the state of Ohio or change your name, you must report the change. If you have moved, you can update your address online using the VoteOhio.gov website, or complete a Voter Registration Form. If you have changed your name, you can up that by submitting a Change of Name form.
Can a college student vote from their school address?
Yes, if the student establishes that place as his or her residence and registers to vote. Otherwise, the student must vote in his or her home county where they are registered to vote.
What if I am homeless, living in a homeless shelter, or living in temporary housing?
If you have someplace that will accept mail for you (for example, a friend’s or relative’s home, a church, a food pantry), you can register from that address. You need to give an address so the Board of Elections knows where to send the postcard telling you the location of your polling place.
Where do I vote?
You vote in the precinct in which you reside. You will receive a postcard from the Board of Elections that will notify you of your Ward and/or precinct and voting location when you register. See our Precinct Locations page for specific voting locations. You may also access polling locations, sample ballots, and check your voter registration through the links on our home page. If you have moved, but have not updated your voter registration, call the Board of Elections 330-287-5480 for your new precinct and voting location.
Do I declare my political affiliation when I register to vote?
No. Under Ohio law, a person’s political party affiliation is determined by choosing to vote a party ballot at a partisan Primary Election.
May I vote on ballot issues in a Primary Election without declaring a political affiliation?
Yes. You may vote on questions and issues on the ballot without voting for candidates of a political party. Ask for an issues only ballot when you go to vote.
What is Early Voting?
Technically, there is no such thing as “Early Voting.” What this term has come to mean is the ability of the voter to cast his/her vote before Election Day IN PERSON at their local Board of Elections. By definition, this is still considered absentee voting.
May I vote if I have been convicted of a crime?
A person currently serving time in jail or prison for a felony conviction cannot register to vote or vote. Additionally, a person who has twice been convicted of a violation of the elections laws is permanently barred from voting in Ohio. An otherwise qualified person convicted of a misdemeanor may vote, and one convicted of a felony may register and vote while on probation or parole or after completing his or her jail or prison sentence.
Can I check my voter information online?
Yes. You may check your voter information on our Check Voter Registration Page. If performing such a search returns the information you registered, the Board of Elections has successfully processed your voter registration form. If the search does not return your information, please contact us at 330-287-5480 to check on the status of your registration.
What time are the polls open?
Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
How are votes counted and when are they reported?
Votes come from five different categories — In-person absentee voting at the Board of Elections Office on machine; absentee voting by a paper ballot; voting at the precinct on Election Day on a machine; voting at the precinct on Election Day by a paper ballot; and by a provisional ballot. The results posted on Election Night are UNOFFICIAL — meaning they aren’t the final, certified results. Election Night results include all absentee ballots received in our office by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, and all ballots cast at the polls. The OFFICIAL results, which are tabulated beginning 10 days after the UNOFFICIAL results are collected, include all the UNOFFICIAL results, plus any absentee ballots postmarked by the day before the election and received by our office within 10 days after the election. Also included in the OFFICIAL total are valid provisional ballots.
When are Elections held?
Primary elections are held the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May, except in a Presidential Year, in which case the date is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March. General Elections are the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, and Special Elections may be held the first Tuesday after the first Monday in February and August as required.
Can voters be challenged?
On Election Day, ONLY a precinct election official or the Voting Location Manager at the check-in table can challenge voter and only for the following reasons:
- The voter is not a resident of the precinct;
- The voter is not a resident of Ohio;
- The voter is not a U.S. citizen;
- The voter is not of legal voting age
If challenged by a precinct election official for one of the reasons given above, the prospective voter should complete the Affidavit Oath Examination of Person Challenged (Form 10-U).
Can I wear campaign attire to a polling location?
By law, the polling location must be free of any campaign paraphernalia, including attire. So you will be politely asked to remove or cover campaign items.
What is a Political Party Committee?
A political party is an organization whose candidates received five-percent or more of the vote for governor and lieutenant governor or nominees for presidential elector at last election. A new political party may be created by petition process, but its candidates must meet the five-percent requirement at the next election for governor or president to retain political party status.
What is a Candidate Committee?
A Candidate Committee is formed when a person seeking public office receives or expends, or has agreed to let another receive or expend, monies in regards to that candidacy. Personal monies and candidacy monies are not to be co-mingled. A current Designation of Treasurer form must be filed with the board.
What is a Political Action Committee (PAC)?
Two or more persons who receive or spend items or money in an attempt to influence the outcome of an election. It does not include candidates’ committees, legislative campaign funds or political parties. Clubs, associations and parent/teacher organizations can be political action committees if:
- One of the main reasons for the groups existence is related to supporting or opposing candidates or ballot issues. It often engages in political activity.
- Funds were specifically raised for political activity. [R.C.3517.01(B)(8)].
What is your Public Records Policy?
Wayne County Board of Elections Public Records Policy
Note: Many public records requests can be completed using our self-serve Online Information Tools available under the resources tab above or by clicking “Oline Information Tools” in the menu at bottom of page.
It is the policy of the Wayne County Board of Elections (WCBOE) that, as required by Ohio law, records will be organized and maintained so that they are readily available for inspection and copying. It is the policy of WCBOE to strictly adhere to Ohio’s Public Records Act. All exemptions to openness are to be construed in their narrowest sense and any denial of public records in response to a valid request must be accompanied by an explanation, including legal authority, as outlined in the Ohio Revised Code. If the request is in writing, the explanation must also be in writing. Record retention schedules are to be updated regularly and posted prominently.
Section 1: Definition of a Public Record
The WCBOE, in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code, defines “records” as including the following: Any document – paper, electronic (including, but not limited to, e-mail), or other format – that is created or received by, or comes under the jurisdiction of a public office that documents the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the office.
Section 2: Request of Public Records
Each request for public records should be evaluated for a response using the following guidelines.
Although no specific language is required to make a request, the requester must at least identify the records requested with sufficient clarity to allow the public office to identify, retrieve, and review the records. If it is not clear what records are being sought, the employee must contact the requester for clarification, and should assist the requestor in revising the request by informing the requestor of the manner in which the office keeps its records.
The requestor does not have to put a records request in writing, and does not have to provide his or her identity or the intended use of the requested public record. It is the WCBOE’s general policy that this information is not to be requested.
Section 3: Availability of Public Records
Public records are to be available for inspection during regular business hours, with the exception of published holidays. Public records must be made available for inspection promptly. Copies of public records must be made available within a reasonable period of time. The terms of “prompt” and “reasonable” take into account the volume of records requested; the proximity of the location where the records are stored; and the necessity for any legal review of the records requested.
Section 4: Availability of Public Records Policy including Records Retention Schedules
WCBOE’s Public Records Policy will be available in the WCBOE’s office via hard copy. It will also be available on the WCBOE’s website under Public Records Policy. Individual records retention schedules are on file with the records retention custodian.
Section 5: Process for Releasing Public Records
Each request should be evaluated for an estimated length of time required to gather the records. All requests for public records must either be satisfied or be acknowledged promptly in writing by WCBOE Office following the office’s receipt of the request. If a request is deemed significantly beyond “routine,” such as seeking a voluminous number of copies or requiring extensive research, the acknowledgement must include the following:
An estimated number of business days it will take to satisfy the request.
An estimated cost if copies are requested.
Any items within the request that may be exempt from disclosure.
Section 6: Denial of Public Records Request
Any denial of public records requested must include an explanation, including legal authority. If portions of a record are public and portions are exempt, the exempt portions are to be redacted and the rest released. If there are redactions, each redaction must be accompanied by a supporting explanation, including legal authority.
Section 7: Costs for Public Records
Those seeking public records should be charged only the actual cost of making copies, unless the cost is otherwise set by statute. (R.C. 149.43(B)(1)). Employee time should not be calculated into the charge for copying a public record. However, in the event that circumstances make it reasonable for this office to hire an outside contractor to make copies of requested records, the requester will be charged the actual cost paid to the outside contractor for the copying service. (R.C. 149.43(F)(2)(a)). These circumstances may include but not be limited to a lack of in-house photocopying resources or labor.
The WCBOE has no duty to provide copies of public records free of charge to someone who indicates an inability or unwillingness to pay for them.
The WCBOE has adopted the rates for copies of public records as set forth by the Wayne County Commissioners via Resolution 2015-39, passed August 5, 2015.
Requesters may ask that documents be mailed to them. Requesters may be requested to advance the cost of the postage and mailing supplies.
Section 8: Maintenance of Public Records
It is the policy of the WCBOE that, as required by Ohio law, records will be organized and maintained so that they are readily available for inspection and copying (See Section 10 for the e-mail record policy).
All public records will be maintained by the responsible employees according to public records law and approved retention schedules.
While an overwhelming majority of the documentation produced by WCBOE Office might be considered public records, Section 149.43 of the Ohio Revised Code states which records are not subject to disclosure.
Should a file need to be removed from public records section, a records control card will be placed in the file’s space indicating employee’s name, date of removal, name of file and the reason for removal.
Section 3.04 of the County’s Personnel Policy Manual shall be followed when releasing employment/payroll records.
If a person requests more than ten (10) public records in a month, the citizen shall submit a written letter to the WCBOE that she/he does not intend to use or forward this information for commercial purposes. Otherwise, that citizen will be limited to ten (10) public records requests per month.
Section 9: Media Relations Regarding Public Records
The WCBOE Office shall respond to the media in a prompt and respectful manner.
If the media requests a public record, this policy shall apply.
Section 10: E-Mails as Public Records
– E-mail is to be treated in the same fashion as “records,” in other formats and should follow the same retention schedules.
Records in private e-mail accounts used to conduct public business are subject to the rules set forth in this policy, and all employees or representatives of this office are instructed to retain their e-mail that relate to public business and to copy them to their business e-mail accounts and/or to the office’s records custodian.
The records custodian is to treat the e-mails from private accounts as records of the public office, filing them in the appropriate way, retaining them per established schedules and making them available for inspection and copying in accordance with the Public Records Act.
Section 11: Failure to Respond to a Public Records Request
The WCBOE recognizes the legal and non-legal consequences of failure to properly respond to a public records request. In addition to the distrust in government that failure to comply may cause.
The WCBOE’s failure to comply with a request may result in a court ordering The WCBOE to comply with the law and to pay the requester’s attorney’s fees and damages, upon the requester’s mandamus action against the WCBOE.
Section 12: General Exemptions from Public Record Law
The WCBOE recognizes that not all of its records are “public records.” Certain records are exempt from the Public Records Act. There are two types of public records exemptions: 1) those that mandate that a public office cannot release certain documents; and 2) those that allow the public office to choose whether to release certain documents. The WCBOE also recognizes that some records require expert case-by-case analysis by its legal counsel before use in response to a public records request.