When you arrive at the precinct, you will be required to sign the signature poll book on Election Day. In theory, it should match the signature on file in the book. According to the 2012 Precinct Election Official Training Manual:
If the voter’s signature, in the opinion of the majority of all four precinct election officials, does not substantially conform to the signature in the Signature Poll Book, the voter MUST vote a provisional ballot.
Not a problem. There are two simple ways to get around this. The first way is probably the least complicated. The signature pollbook with the “real” signature will be right there in front of you. You have to really botch the signature to convince three poll workers (from a slate of two Republicans and two Democrats) that it does not “substantially conform” to the original. This is especially true if you arrive at a busy time, when poll workers are looking at a line out the door. Just feign an injury to your writing hand and apologize for your scribbles. Another option would be to simply sign with an “X” and then proceed to vote a regular ballot. (This may invite additional scrutiny, so the first method is preferred.)
- A variation to this method is to show up with no ID and present the last four numbers of your friend’s Social Security number in lieu of ID.
This is a bit more complicated because you will be required to sit at a separate booth, fill out a provisional ballot envelope, and vote a paper ballot. It’s slower than voting at the touch-screen voting machines, but avoids ALL ID requirements. When the board of elections receives your provisional ballot, they are only required to check to see that the name, address, and last four digits of the Social Security Number all match a registration on file at the BOE; the vote will then be counted.
- An even easier way to accomplish your goal of voting early and voting often is to do so in the privacy of your home through the convenience of the absentee ballot.
Ohio has no-fault absentee voting. “Any qualified Ohio voter…may request and vote an absentee ballot without stating a reason.” To make it even easier, the secretary of State, in an attempt to calm Democrats who cried foul over Ohio’s ban on counties sending out unsolicited absentee applications, is sending preemptive applications to every registered voter in the state. Simply apply for an absentee ballot for a friend who doesn’t plan to vote and follow the instructions on the ballot. All you’ll need are the last four digits of the friend’s Social Security number, OR their Ohio driver’s license number, OR a cable TV bill (see above for acceptable forms of ID). Have the absentee ballot sent to your address and mail it in before Election Day. Repeat as necessary for all your sick and tired friends.
[Note: In prior elections, we have recommended voting for deceased voters who are still on the registered voters lists. But we recently spoke to Matt McClellan, press secretary for SOS Jon Husted, who told us that Ohio has removed 150,000 dead voters from the rolls since Husted took office. He said that Ohio's voter registration lists "are in the best shape they've been in in years." Husted confirmed that (officially?) via his personal Twitter account on Sept. 10th. We now suggest sticking with the names of "live" voters.]