Under Ohio election law, you declare your affiliation with a political party by requesting the ballot of that party in a partisan primary election. So, for example, you would declare your affiliation with the Democratic Party by asking for a Democratic ballot when you vote in the primary election. Partisan primary elections are held in every even numbered year. The 2020 Ohio partisan primary election is on Tuesday, March 17. Early voting for the 2020 primary starts on February 19. You may vote one party’s ballot in this primary election even if you’ve voted the other party’s ballot in previous elections.

If you do affiliate with a political party the only thing you cannot do is sign a candidate’s nominating petition if that candidate is running in a different party. Independent voters may sign nominating petitions for either party.

If you do not desire to affiliate with a political party in Ohio, you are considered to be an unaffiliated voter or, as some identify, an independant voter. If you wish to remain an unaffiliated voter you should only vote an Official Questions and Issues Ballot, if there are any present for your precinct on primary election day.

Regardless of whether or not you declare a political party affiliation during the primary you may vote for any candidate you wish in the general election. So, even if you are a “registered” Republican, you can vote for Democrats in the general election. You can vote for a Democrat for one office and vote for a Republican for a different office. You should educate yourself about each candidate regardless of their party affiliation and vote for the candidate that best matches your values. Who you vote for in the general election in November will not change your official party affiliation.

You must be registered to vote in order to vote in the primary election. You must register or update your voter registration no later than 30 days prior to an election. If you are not yet 18 years of age on the day of the primary but you will turn 18 before the November general election, you can vote for candidates in the primary election. You still must register to vote by the voter registration deadline. Ohio Online Voter Registration

Upcoming voter registration deadlines:

February 18, 2020 for the March 17, 2020 Primary Election
July 6, 2020 for the August 4, 2020 Special Election
October 5, 2020 for the November 3, 2020 General Election

If you register or update your information after the deadline, the change will apply for the next election.

Visit the Clermont County Board of Elections to check your registration and find your polling location.