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League of Women Voters

Ohio Absentee Ballot Process

A qualified Ohio voter does not have to state a reason to vote by an absentee ballot, and a voter with only a Social Security number or an Ohio license number as identification can cast a regular ballot. However, the ballot must be applied for in writing. If you are properly registered to vote, you 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 (discussed below) and your original signature. You may, but are not required to, use the application form prescribed by the Ohio Secretary of State.

You do not need to submit an official absentee ballot application. You need to request an absentee ballot by written request, and it must contain all of the following information:

  • Your date of birth
  • Your name
  • Your signature
  • The address at which you are registered to vote and your date of birth
  • One of these items showing proof of identification: Ohio driver's license number, the last four digits of your Social Security number, a copy of your current and valid photo ID, military ID, or a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and current address
  • A statement identifying the election for which absent voter's ballots are requested
  • A statement that you are a qualified elector
  • If you want the ballots to be mailed, the address to which you want them mailed

Absentee voting begins 29 days before an election. Absentee ballots must be received before the close of the polls on election day, or postmarked no later than the day before an election and received no later than 10 days after the close of the polls. Once absentee ballots are available for voting, you may either vote in person at the county board of elections office, or receive and return the absentee ballot via U.S. Mail, or overnight delivery services such as FedEx or UPS.

To receive your absentee ballot:

  • By mail: Unless you are a member of the U.S. armed forces, you must mail your properly completed absentee ballot application bearing your original signature to the board of elections of the county where your voting residence is located. The board must receive your request by noon on the Saturday before the election. However, you should submit your request as far in advance of the election as possible.
  • In person: You may go to the county board of elections office during regular business hours after absentee ballots are available for voting, but no later than the day before the election, and request, receive and immediately vote your ballot at the board office.
  • If you are hospitalized on election day, regardless of where you are hospitalized, you must submit a properly completed and signed request to the board of elections of the county where your voting residence is located by 3:00 pm on Election Day. To be eligible under this provision, you must be confined in a hospital because of an unforeseeable medical emergency. Your application must specify where, why and when you came to be hospitalized. You may include in your absentee ballot application a request that your county board of elections give your unmarked ballot to a designated relative. A relative includes: 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. Your relative would then deliver the ballot to you in the hospital and return it to the board office after you have voted it. If you are hospitalized in the same county where you are registered to vote, two representatives of the board of elections can deliver the ballot to you and return it to the board office.

Overseas citizens and U.S. military personnel can find information on how to register to vote and request an absentee ballot at the Overseas Vote Foundation.

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