Written by Arianna Johnson, Library Customer Adviser, Deer Park Branch
When it comes to voting, many misconceptions and myths may prevent Hamilton County residents from casting their ballots. Your public library, along with the Greater Cincinnati Voter Collaborative, opens a new window and the Ohio Voter Rights Coalition, opens a new window, is working to break down these myths and empower folks who may feel disconnected from the voting process, or not feeling inspired about their right to vote. It’s National Voter Registration Day. Let your voice be heard!
Myth: You can only vote in person.
Truth: You may vote by mail to stay safe during the pandemic. All you need to do is mail in or deliver your Vote by Mail Application and ensure it arrives at the Board of Elections no later than noon on Saturday, Oct. 30. Any library location can help by printing a Vote by Mail Application and mailing it to the Board of Elections for you, free of charge. In order to have your form delivered by the Library, you must give the Library your completed form by Tuesday, Oct. 26.
Myth: You can’t vote if you've recently moved.
Truth: If your address has changed, you can still vote. Change your address and your name online, opens a new window or download and complete the form and mail it in. Any library location can help by printing a Voter Registration Form and mailing it to the Board of Elections for you, free of charge. In order to have your form delivered by the Library, you must give the Library your completed form by Tuesday, Oct. 26.
Myth: You can’t vote if you are experiencing homelessness.
Truth: A person experiencing homelessness can vote. Sheltered residents can vote using a shelter address such as the YMCA or YWCA. Unsheltered residents can vote by giving a short description of their place of residence.
- Mailing address is not required. When filling out the registration form, an unexpired Ohio driver’s license OR the last four numbers of Social Security is required.
- To register online, an Ohio driver’s license or Ohio state ID card is required in addition to the last four digits of one’s social security number.
- If voting in person on Election Day, a photo ID or official document with the voter’s name and address is required.
Myth: You need a driver’s license to vote.
Truth: Various types of identification allow you to vote.
- Ohio driver’s license/Ohio state ID/Ohio interim documentation (must show your name and current or former address).
- State of Ohio or federal government photo ID (must show your name and current address).
- Ohio concealed weapons ID (must show your name and current address).
- Acceptable documents as ID (must show your name, current address, and be dated within 12 months)
- Utility bill
- Bank statement
- Government check
- Payroll check
- Government document
- Military ID issued by the Department of Defense
Myth: You cannot vote if you have been convicted of a crime.
Truth: People with criminal records have a right to vote.
Myth: You have to speak English in order to vote.
Truth: You do not have to speak English to vote. Election Protection & Voting Info Hotlines offer hotlines in different languages:
- 1-866-Ve-Y-Vota (Spanish)
- 1-888-API-VOTE (Asian)
- 1-844-YALLA-US (Arabic)
Myth: It is unsafe for transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people to vote.
Truth: Your gender presentation should not be a barrier to casting your ballot.
- Gender differences on an ID are not a valid reason to deny a regular ballot. Transgender voters may have ID that indicates a different gender than what they look like. This does not mean their ID is invalid or fraudulent for voting.
- Different clothing, makeup, or hairstyle on an ID is not a valid reason to deny a regular ballot. The photo on an ID may show a different gender presentation. As long as a voter can be identified from their picture, the ID is valid for voting.
- If one is still not allowed to vote on a regular ballot, they may request a provisional ballot.
- Are you worried that your voter registration may have been purged or has incorrect information? Check your registration online, opens a new window, and you may still register to vote until Oct. 4, 2021. Ask Library staff to help you register to vote and apply for a vote by mail ballot—all for free.
- Check out the Greater Cincinnati Voter Collaborative's website , opens a new windowand Facebook page , opens a new windowand the Library's voting information page for all of the up-to-date information you need to know to empower you to vote.
- Watch a video about voting rights myths from the League of Women Voters, opens a new window.
Visit the Library’s voting information page for deadlines, downloadable forms, or information about filling out your voter registration form at the Library.