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Early voting opens Tuesday. Here's what you need to know

 People vote early in-person at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections on Oct. 27, 2022.
Ryan Loew
Ideastream Public Media
Recent changes to state law now require all voters to present a valid photo ID to vote. Utility bills, bank statements, government checks, paychecks, concealed carry permits and other government documents will no longer be acceptable.

Early voting begins Tuesday, July 11, for Ohio’s Aug. 8 special election.

Here’s everything you need to know to cast your vote:

What’s on the ballot?

There is only one issue on the Aug. 8 special election ballot. Issue 1 would change the threshold to amend the state constitution from a simple majority — 50% of voters plus one — to 60% of voters.

It would make it more challenging for citizens to change the state constitution via ballot initiatives.

What is a ballot initiative?

A ballot initiative is a citizen-led method in which Ohio residents work to get their own measures on a ballot. This is done by collecting signatures across the state and submitting them. If supporters get enough signatures, the measure appears on the ballot and voters are then able to vote on whether or not they want to approve the measure in an election.

Currently, ballot initiatives require signatures totaling 10% of votes cast for governor in the previous election cycle (using the 2018 gubernatorial election, that equates to 442,958 signatures).

The law requires supporters gather signatures from 44 of Ohio’s counties. If approved, Issue 1 would require they gather signatures from all of the state’s 88 counties.

Issue 1 would also remove the "cure period," which allows extra time for ballot measure proponents to collect more signatures to meet the requirements in case they fall short or some of the signatures prove invalid.

Can I expect long waits on Election Day?

We don’t know.

Off-season elections have historically low voter turnout. Last August’s election only reeled in about 8% of registered voters.

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Outreach Manager Mike West said this is unlike any other election they’ve seen, and they’re unsure of what to expect. West said given the attention on this issue, they are prepping for a high turnout in case.

If you want to avoid potentially long wait times, consider voting early.

I want to vote early. Where do I go?

Voter registration closes July 10 with early voting beginning on July 11.

To vote early, go to your county board of elections office.

Northeast Ohio locations include:

A full list of Ohio’s boards of elections can be found here.

Early voting hours are:

July 11-14: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

July 17-21: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

July 24-28: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

July 31: 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

Aug. 1: 7:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

Aug. 2-4: 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

Aug. 5: 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Aug. 6: 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

I want to vote on Election Day. Where should I go?

Election Day is Aug. 8. If you choose to vote on that day, you will need to go to your designated precinct.

You should receive a card in the mail with your polling location, or you can look it up here.

What do I need to bring to vote?

Recent changes to voter identification laws were signed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine earlier this year which now requires all voters to present a valid photo ID. Utility bills, bank statements, government checks, paychecks, concealed carry permits and other government documents will no longer be acceptable.

Bring one of the following to your county’s Board of Elections (if voting early) or polling location (if you’re voting on Election Day):

  • Ohio driver’s license (other state IDs not accepted)
  • State of Ohio ID card
  • Interim ID card issued by Ohio BMV
  • U.S. passport or passport card
  • U.S. military, Ohio National Guard or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ID

For more information, visit Ohio's Secretary of State's website.

Where can I learn more about Issue 1?

Ideastream Public Media and our partners at the Statehouse News Bureau have been diligently covering Issue 1.

Find previous coverage here:

Updated: July 11, 2023 at 8:52 AM EDT
This story has been updated with early voting hours.
Abbey Marshall covers Cleveland-area government and politics for Ideastream Public Media.