Absentee Voting By Mail
All Ohio voters whose registration information is up-to-date have the opportunity to vote in any election from the convenience of their own homes by requesting an absentee ballot. Absentee voting has many benefits -- You can vote early, it is convenient, it reduces the chance of lines at the polls on Election Day, and absentee ballots are the first votes counted on Election Night. Voters need only fill out and return an application and their absentee ballot will be mailed to them so they may make their selections at their leisure and return their ballot to the board of elections ahead of Election Day.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is three days before the election in which you want to vote, but voters can submit their application any time. If mailed, absentee ballots must be postmarked by the day before the election in order to be counted. You can also return your absentee ballot in-person to your county board of elections before the close of the polls at 7:30pm on Election Day.
You can request your ballot for each individual election beginning on January 1 or 90 days before the date of an election, whichever is earlier, but you must complete and submit a separate application for each election in which you want to vote. Your request must be received by your local county board of elections by noon 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.
Steps to request and vote an absentee ballot:
- Complete the absentee ballot request form*.
- Once you have completed your application by providing all of the required information print and sign it.
- Mail the request form back to your own county board of elections.
- Wait to receive your ballot in the mail from your county board of elections. If you have questions about your absentee ballot request, you should call your county board of elections or you can track the status of your ballot request as well as your voted absentee ballot through the Voter Toolkit.
- Return your voted ballot. You can send it by U.S. Mail or deliver it in person to your county board of elections, but the return envelope containing your marked ballot must either be received by your county board of elections prior to the close of the polls 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 the election.
To make sure your absentee ballot is counted, it must be received by your board of elections by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day OR be postmarked by the day before Election Day.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) estimates that it may take two to five days for your voted absentee ballot to be delivered to your board of elections by mail.
If you are returning your voted ballot during the week before Election Day, you should take it to USPS no later than the day before Election Day and ensure it receives a postmark as follows:
- If you use a postage label purchased at a USPS customer service window or vending machine, the date on the label is the postmark. This is the USPS-recommended way to postmark your ballot.
- If you use postage stamps, ask that it be postmarked.
You should not use a postage meter or an online service (such as stamps.com) to affix postage.
It is your responsibility to make sure the ballot has enough postage.
If you do not vote your absentee ballot and instead decide to go to your assigned polling place on Election Day, you must vote a provisional ballot.
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.