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

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Frequently Asked Questions About Voting Absentee

2014 General Election Days of Voting

 

 

Who is eligible to vote by absentee ballot?

Any qualified Ohio voter whose registration information is up to date may request and vote an absentee ballot without stating a reason. Absentee voters may choose to request and vote an absentee ballot in person or by mail prior to Election Day.

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When does absentee voting begin and end?

For the vast majority of voters, absentee voting begins the day after the close of voter registration, giving Ohioans nearly a month to cast a ballot prior to Election Day.

Military and Overseas Voters

Note: State and federal law make additional accommodations for military and overseas voters. Please visit www.OhioMilitaryVotes.com for more information.

Military Ready to Voter - Military Voters
Ohio Voter Passport - Overseas Voters

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Can I vote absentee in person?

You may choose to vote early in person by requesting and voting an absentee ballot at your county board of elections office or voting center, as designated by the county. For specific information for your county, including times and locations for early in-person absentee voting, contact your board of elections. Click here for more information regarding in-person absentee voting prior to Election Day.

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How do I vote absentee by mail?

You also have the option to vote without ever having to leave home by requesting that an absentee ballot be mailed to you. Mail-in absentee ballots must be requested by noon on the Saturday before the election, but should be requested as early as possible so you have time to receive, vote and return your ballot.

Once you ballot is completed, it can be delivered in person to the board of elections office no later than the close of polls on Election Day. It may not be returned to a polling location. If returned by mail, the ballot must be postmarked the day before Election Day and received no later than the 10th day after the election in order to be counted. Click here for more information regarding voting absentee by mail.

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What is the application process for obtaining an absentee ballot?

Absentee ballots must be applied for in writing whether you are voting in person or by mail.

If you are properly registered to vote, you must submit your written request to the board of elections of the county in which your voting residence is located. Your request must contain certain information as described below and your signature. To avoid potential problems with your application, you are encouraged, but not required, to use an application form prescribed by the Ohio Secretary of State. Application forms are available for download by clicking here.

Military and Overseas Voters

Note: State and federal law make additional accommodations for military and overseas voters. Please visit www.OhioMilitaryVotes.com for more information.

Military Ready to Voter - Military Voters
Ohio Voter Passport - Overseas Voters

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What information is needed to request an absentee ballot?

You may use the application form prescribed by the Secretary of State (Form 11-A) or provided to you by your county board of elections to apply for your absentee ballot. If you choose not to use the prescribed form, your written application need not be in any particular format, but it must contain all of the following information:

  1. Your name;
  2. Your legal signature;
  3. The address at which you are registered to vote;
  4. Your date of birth;
  5. One of the following items showing proof of your identification:
    • Your Ohio driver's license number (begins with two letters followed by six numbers);
    • The last four digits of your Social Security number; or
    • A copy of a current and valid photo identification, a military identification, or a current (within the last 12 months) utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document (other than a notice of voter registration mailed by a board of elections) that shows the voter’s name and current address.
  6. A statement identifying the election for which you are requesting an absentee ballot;
  7. A statement that you are a qualified elector;
  8. If the request is for a partisan primary election ballot, your political party affiliation; and
  9. If you want the ballot to be mailed to a different address than where you are registered, the address to which you want it mailed.

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What are the absentee ballot deadlines?

Requesting your absentee ballot:

  1. In person: After absentee ballots are available for voting you may request and vote your absentee ballot in person by going to your county board of elections office or designated voting location. Click here for more information regarding in-person absentee voting prior to Election Day.
  2. By mail: Beginning January 1 or 90 days before the date of an election, whichever is earlier, you may mail your properly-completed absentee ballot application bearing your original signature to the board of elections of the county in which your voting residence is located. The board must receive your request by noon of the third day before the election (usually a Saturday). However, you should submit your request as far in advance of the election as possible to ensure there is sufficient time for the board to mail you a ballot and for you to timely return that ballot. Click here for more information regarding voting absentee by mail.
  3. If you or your minor child is in the hospital on Election Day: You must submit a properly-completed and signed request to the board of elections of the county in which your voting residence is located by 3 p.m. on Election Day. To be eligible under this provision, you or your minor child must be confined in a hospital because of an accident or unforeseeable medical emergency. Your application must specify where, why, and when you or your minor child came to be hospitalized. If you or your minor child is hospitalized in the same county where you are registered to vote, two representatives of the board of elections can deliver the ballot to you, wait while you mark the ballot, and return your voted ballot to the board office. Additionally, you may include in your absentee ballot application a request that your county board of elections give your unmarked ballot to a designated relative – your spouse, father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandfather, grandmother, brother, sister, son, daughter, adopted parent, adopted child, stepparent, stepchild, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece – who shall deliver the ballot to you in the hospital and return your voted ballot to the board office. Click here for Hospitalized Absentee Ballot Request Form 11-B.

Returning your absentee ballot:

For your absentee ballot to be counted, it must be received as follows:

By U.S. Mail: The return envelope containing your marked ballot must either be received by the board of elections prior to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, or postmarked no later than the day before the election and received by the board of elections no later than 10 days after that election. (Note: Ohio's election law states that "postmarked" does not include a date marked by a postage evidence system, such as a postage meter. Therefore, the return envelope must bear a valid postage cancellation stamp affixed by the U.S. Postal Service.)

In person: Your marked ballot, which must be sealed in the completed and signed identification envelope provided with the ballot, must be delivered to the board of elections office either by you or an eligible family member no later than 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

Note: No voted ballot may be returned to a board of elections by fax or e-mail. If a voted ballot is returned by fax or e-mail, it will not be accepted, processed, or counted.

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