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When does absentee voting begin and end?
Primary and general elections:
For uniformed services voters and overseas voters eligible to vote under
the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), the
absent voters ballots must be ready 45 days before an election. For all
other voters, absentee voting begins 35 days before the day of an
election. Mail in absentee ballots must be requested by noon on the
Saturday before the election.
If delivered in
person to the board office, all absentee ballots must be received no
later than the close of polls on Election Day. If postmarked before
Election Day and mailed to the board office, absentee ballots must be
received no later than the 10th day after the election.
Special elections are elections that are held on a day other than the
day of a primary or general election. If the laws governing the special
election make it impossible for the absent voter ballots to be printed
by the timelines listed in the above section, then absentee voting for
the special election begins as many days before the day of the election
as reasonably possible. You may contact your county board of elections
to learn if a special election is being held in your precinct and, if
so, when absentee ballots will be available.
ballots are available for voting, any eligible voter may receive and
return an absentee ballot in person at the county board of elections
office or, if a board of elections has designated another location as
its absentee voting site, in person at that designated location, or by
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.
What is the application process for obtaining an absentee ballot?
Ohio law provides
separate application processes for different classifications of absentee
voters (i.e., uniformed services, overseas, and regular citizens). In
all cases, absentee ballots must be applied for in writing. 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 in
the following sections 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.
If you are not on
active duty as a member of the U.S. armed services or other uniformed
services, which includes Ohio's organized militia (the Ohio Air National
Guard, Ohio Army National Guard, Ohio Naval Militia, and Ohio Military
Reserve), or if you are a U.S. citizen not residing outside of the U.S.,
you are considered a "regular" absentee voter for the purpose of this
Regular Absentee Voters
If you are a
regular absentee voter, you may use the application form prescribed by
the Secretary of State (Form
11-A) 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:
Your legal signature;
The address at which you are
registered to vote;
Your date of birth;
One of the following items
showing proof of your identification:
Your Ohio driver's license
The last four digits of your
Social Security number; or
A copy of your current and
valid photo identification, military identification, or a
current (within the last 12 months) utility bill (including cell
phone bill), bank statement, government check, paycheck, or
other government document that shows your name and current
You cannot use a voter registration acknowledgement notice that
the board of elections mailed to you as proof of
A statement identifying the
election for which you are requesting an absentee voter's ballot;
A statement that you are a
If the request is for a partisan
primary election ballot, your political party affiliation; and
If you want the ballot to be
mailed, the address to which you want it mailed.
Application Deadlines for Regular Absentee Voters
To receive your
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.
statewide voting hours and county locations for in-person absentee
voting prior to Election Day.
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.
If you or your minor child is in
the hospital on Election Day:
Regardless of where you or your minor child is hospitalized, 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
For your absentee
ballot to be counted, it must be received as follows:
If you are a regular absentee
voter your ballot may be returned:
By U.S. Mail:
The return envelope containing your marked ballot must either be
the board of elections prior to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, or
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, either by
you or an eligible family member: 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 no later than 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
If you are a UOCAVA voter your
ballot envelope must be submitted for mailing not later than 12:01
a.m. on Election Day and received by your county board of elections
not later than the 10 days after a special, primary or general
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.)