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(614) 466-2655
(877) SOS-OHIO (767-6446)
TTY (614) 466-0562
Toll-free TTY (877) 644-6889
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180 E. Broad St., 16th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

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Questions and Answers

What is included in the Ohio Voter Passport?
Enclosed you is a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) form, the easiest way for U.S. citizens who are living overseas to register to vote and to request absentee ballots. You will also find useful web links. 

How do I register to vote? How do I request an absentee ballot? 
Registering to vote and applying for absentee ballots are as simple as completing the FPCA form provided in this packet and returning it to your local board of elections. A completed FPCA serves a dual purpose. You may use the FPCA to register to vote if you are not already registered and to apply for absentee ballots. 

Who may use the Federal Post Card Application?

The federal government and the State of Ohio permit the use of the FPCA by overseas voters and uniformed services voters. For your purpose, overseas voters are U.S. citizens who are considered by Ohio law to be residents of the state and:

  • Currently live outside the U.S. and who, before leaving the U.S., were last eligible to vote in Ohio or would have been eligible to vote in Ohio had they been 18 years of age or older, or
  • Were born outside the U.S. and have a parent or guardian who last resided and was last eligible to vote in Ohio before leaving the U.S.

May anyone else request an absentee ballot on my behalf?
Yes. If you are already registered to vote, your spouse, father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandfather, grandmother, brother or sister of the whole blood or half blood, son, daughter, adopting parent, adopted child, stepparent, stepchild, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece may request a ballot for you. Any of those relatives may use the FPCA to request absentee ballots on your behalf, providing a mailing address, fax number or e-mail address at which you are able to receive the absentee ballot. This request may be made by mail or in person at your local board of elections.

When may I apply for an absentee ballot?
When you complete the FPCA, one request allows you to receive absentee ballots for all elections (primary, general, or any special elections) during the year. While you may complete and return the FPCA at any time, an FPCA returned to your local board of elections at the beginning of each year on or after January 1st or 90 days before an election, whichever is earlier, will serve as a request for absentee ballots for every election in that year. A completed FPCA returned by mail, fax, or e-mail by noon on the third day before the election will allow you to receive an absentee ballot for that election and all subsequent elections in that year.

How do I submit my Federal Post Card Application?
Complete the form and return it to the Ohio Secretary of State's office by mail (click here to access the FPCA). You may also fax the completed and signed form to (614) 485-7690 or scan it and attach it to an e-mail to OVP@OhioSecretaryofState.gov. Please remember that in order to be a valid voter registration application and/or absentee ballot application, the FPCA must be wholly completed and signed. If you need additional copies of the FPCA, you may print it from the website at www.fvap.gov/resources/media/fpca/pdf.

Where is my board of elections?
You may look up your county board of elections contact information here or contact our Outreach Liason.

How will I receive my absentee ballot?
You must designate the form in which you prefer to receive your absentee ballot when you complete the FPCA. You may receive it by mail, fax or e-mail. Local boards of elections are required to mail overseas or uniformed services absentee ballots not later than the 45th day before the primary or general election, or as early as possible before any special election.
How can I find out what the issues are?
Each board of elections is required to prepare and update an election notice containing a list of all ballot questions and issues and all federal, state, and local offices the board expects to be on the ballot for each precinct holding an election. You may request a copy of this election notice from your local board of elections, or you may view the notice online if the board maintains a website. You may also sign-up receive e-mail reminders or contact our Outreach Liason.

How will I return my voted ballot? What is the deadline for return of the ballot?
Voted absentee ballots cannot be returned electronically. They may be returned only by U.S. Postal Service or another delivery service such as UPS or FedEx, or in person. An absentee ballot must arrive at the board office by the close of polls on Election Day if delivered in person. An absentee ballot returned by mail shall be submitted for mailing not later than 12:01 a.m. on the date of the election at the place where the voter completes the ballot. It must arrive at the board of elections office on or before the 10th day after Election Day. 

How do I know that my local board of elections received my voted absentee ballot?
You will receive a tracking number from your county board of elections with your absentee ballot. You may use the tracking number through the Centralized Ballot Tracking System to verify that your local board of elections has received your absentee ballot.
What happens if I mail a completed FPCA to my local board of elections, but do not receive my absentee ballot?
If you have requested an absentee ballot, but have not received a ballot close to Election Day, you may download a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) at www.fvap.gov/resources/media/fwab.pdf by clicking on the “Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot” link. The completed and signed FWAB must be submitted for mailing not later than 12:01 a.m. on the date of the election at the place where the voter completes the ballot and received at the board office by the 10th day after Election Day. You may request a copy of the election notice prepared by your local board of elections to use as a guide when completing your FWAB so that you know which candidates, questions, or issues are on the ballot.

Why do I have to declare my party affiliation for primary elections?
Ohio law requires all voters who wish to vote in a primary election to declare the party whose ballot they wish to vote in the primary. A voter who does not declare a political party affiliation at a primary election is only permitted to vote on the non-candidate ballot questions and issues for which the voter is otherwise eligible. If you have not designated a political party affiliation or if you have requested an issues-only ballot, but there are no questions or issues on the ballot in a particular election, you will not receive an absentee ballot for that election.

How can I find out the results of an election?
Results can be found here on the Ohio Secretary of State's website.
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