arrowSection 1.1 - Registration Rules

This topic is monitored by Moritz Law Professor Terri L. Enns

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College Student Voting in Ohio

Students from other states who attend college in Ohio can vote in one of two ways: either (1) by absentee ballot under the laws of the state the student came from or (2) in the Ohio district in which their college is located. Under Ohio law, if a student attending college in Ohio considers the college town to be the student's home district, the student is entitled to register to vote in that district. In this respect, Ohio law treats college students no differently from any other adult U.S. citizen living in Ohio: they may register to vote where they live in Ohio as long as they consider this location to be their place of residence.

It wasn't always so. In 1971 the question of whether a clause in §3503.02 of the Ohio Revised Code that mandated different residency requirements for students from that of all other voting-aged people was found to be in violation of the equal protection clause. The court found that the Board of Elections must apply the same residency requirements to all people of voting age living in Ohio. Anderson v. Brown, 332 F. Supp. 1195 (S.D. Ohio 1971). Three years earlier a state court had considered the same ORC provision and, while not finding it per se unconstitutional, concluded that to the extent that it disenfranchised college students who otherwise meet residency requirements, it was in violation of the Ohio Constitution. May v. Jones, 16 Ohio App.2d 140 (Ct. App.1968). In 1972 the Ohio Revised Code was amended and the subsection of §3503.02 that had treated persons attending institutions of higher education differently was excised. Am. Sen. B. No. 460, 134th Gen. Assem. (Ohio 1972).

Sources: Ohio Revised Code: §3503.02, §3509.02