Military and Overseas Voters

Both federal and state laws govern absentee voting by uniformed services and overseas United States citizens. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act are federal laws enacted to protect the rights of United States citizens to vote in federal elections while they are serving in the uniformed services or residing overseas. The Ohio General Assembly has incorporated those federal protections into the Ohio Revised Code and has extended them to state and local elections.

The citizens covered by UOCAVA fall into one of two specific groups:

  • If you are serving in the uniformed services (U.S. Armed Services, merchant marines, and the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States, the national guard and organized militia) and meet the requirements for voting at your Ohio voting residence, you may vote a uniformed services absentee ballot. Your spouse and dependents may vote a uniformed services absentee ballot if they left their Ohio voting residence to be with or near you. The voting residence of a service member is the place in Ohio where the service member resided for at least 30 days immediately preceding the commencement of his or her service.
  • A U.S. citizen living outside the U.S. is eligible to vote in the Ohio precinct in which the voter resided immediately before leaving the U.S. if the voter was, or could have been registered to vote in Ohio while residing there, or currently is eligible under Ohio law to vote in Ohio. OR A U.S. citizen who was born outside the U.S. is deemed to have a voting residence in Ohio at the place in the Ohio precinct where the person's parent or guardian continuously resided for at least 30 days immediately before leaving the United States.

Unless otherwise noted, these provisions apply to federal, state, and local elections.