Absentee Voting by Mail
* Information Needed to Request an Absentee Ballot
You may use the application form prescribed by the Secretary of State (Form 11-A) or provided to you by your county board of elections 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 name;
- 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 number (begins with two letters followed by six numbers);
- The last four digits of your Social Security number; or
- A copy of a current and valid photo identification, a military identification, or a current (within the last 12 months) utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document (other than a notice of voter registration mailed by a board of elections) that shows the voter’s name and current address.
- A statement identifying the election for which you are requesting an absentee ballot;
- A statement that you are a qualified elector;
- If the request is for a partisan primary election ballot, your political party affiliation; and
- If you want the ballot to be mailed to a different address than where you are registered, the address to which you want it mailed.
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.
Military and Overseas Voters
Note: State and federal law make additional accommodations for military and overseas voters. Please visit www.MilitaryVotes.Ohio.gov for more information
If you or your minor child is in the hospital on Election Day, 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. 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 board office. Click here for Hospitalized Absentee Ballot Request Form 11-B.