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Questions and AnswersRegister to Vote and Request an Absentee BallotHelpful Links
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Questions and Answers

How do I register to vote?  How do I request an absentee ballot?

Registering to vote and applying for an absentee ballot are as simple as completing the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) form (download a PDF by clicking here) and returning it to your local board of elections.  A completed FPCA serves a dual purpose.  You can use the FPCA to register to vote if you are not already registered and to apply for an absentee ballot for the entire calendar year. 

Who may use the Federal Post Card Application?

The federal government and the State of Ohio permit the use of the FPCA by uniformed services voters and overseas voters.  For your purpose, U.S. citizens who are members of a uniformed service on active duty, the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the merchant marines, and their eligible spouses and dependents may use this FPCA when active service duty takes them away from the Ohio residence where they are qualified to vote.

Can anyone else request an absentee ballot on my behalf?

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 can request a ballot for you. They may use the FPCA or the Secretary of State prescribed Application by Relative for Uniform Service Absentee Voter Ballot (PDF), providing an address, e-mail address or fax number at which you can receive the absentee ballot. This request may be made by mail or in person at your board of elections. For more information, click here.

When can 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 a full calendar year. While you may complete and return the FPCA at any time, a FPCA returned to your local board of elections at the beginning of each year on or after the first day of January will serve as a request for absentee ballots for the entire calendar year.  Otherwise, a completed FPCA returned by mail, fax, or e-mail not earlier than 90 days before an election and not later than 12 noon on the third day before the election will allow you to receive an absentee ballot for that election and all subsequent elections.  You can also return an application in person to a board of elections office by the close of business the day before Election Day.  For upcoming election dates, click here or contact the Military Liaison by phone ((614) 466-7709) or e-mail.

How do I submit my Federal Post Card Application?

You may complete and sign the FPCA (download a PDF here), detach it, fold and seal it, and put it in the mail.  When mailed from any U.S. post office, APO/FPO mail facility, or U.S. embassy or consulate, this return envelope (PDF) is postage-paid.  You may also fax the completed and signed form or attach it to an e-mail.  Please remember that in order to be a valid voter registration application and/or absentee ballot application, the FPCA must be completed and signed.
If you need additional copies of the FPCA, you can print it from www.fvap.gov/resources/media/fpca.pdf.

Where is my Board of Elections?

You can look up your county board of elections contact information online at by clicking here, or contact our Military Liaison by phone ((614) 466-7709) or e-mail.

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 uniformed services or overseas 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?

The Secretary of State's office maintains a list of statewide issues and candidates. For local issues and candidates, 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 visit www.OhioMilitaryVotes.com or contact our military liaison (see contact information on back page) for more information.

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 the election.

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 can use the tracking number to verify that your local board of elections has received your absentee ballot.  Go to usoav.sos.state.oh.us/UOCAVA_vr__Login.aspx

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, a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) can be downloaded at www.fvap.gov/resources/media/fwab.pdf.  The completed and signed FWAB must be mailed 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 primaries?

Ohio law requires all voters who wish to vote in a primary election to declare the party for which they want 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 that voter is otherwise eligible. You do not have to declare a party to vote in the General Election.

How can I find out what the issues are?

Click here to find out what the issues are. For information on local candidates, contact your local board of elections or contact contact the Military Liaison by phone (614-995-1967) or e-mail.

What is “Vote in Honor of a Veteran” about?

It’s an opportunity to honor anyone who has served in our military by dedicating your vote to them. Just fill out a request card online by clicking here, or by calling the Military Liaison (614) 995-1697.

How can I contact your office?

The Secretary of State;s Military Liaison can be reached by phone ((614) 466-7709) or e-mail. We can also be reached through:

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