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How Do I Declare or Change Political Party Affiliation

Under Ohio election law, you can change your political party at a Primary Election only.  This is done by requesting the ballot type for the political party with which you wish to be affiliated.  Ohio Revised Code Section 3513.19, .20.

If you do not want to be affiliated with a political party in Ohio, you are considered to be an unaffiliated voter.  An unaffiliated voter, which is identified by some people as an “independent voter”, may only vote an Official Questions and Issues Ballot, if there are any present, for your precinct on Primary Election Day.  Unaffiliated or Independent voters can vote for candidates and issues in a General Election.

Ohio’s primary process strikes a balance between the statutory deference to an individual voter’s participatory rights and the political parties’ associative rights. To protect this balance, Directive 2011-43 prohibits against any precinct election official or board of elections member, director, deputy director, or clerk from challenging the right to vote of any elector on the grounds that the voter is not affiliated with or is not a member of the political party whose ballot the person desires to vote, unless that official has personal knowledge to the contrary.  In these rare instances, either SOS Form  10-W, 10-X or 10-Z should be used, depending on the circumstance, pursuant to R.C. 3510.06(D) and 3513.20.