Accessible Absentee Voting in Ohio
If you are a voter with a disability and you have questions about how to vote, please contact our office at 877.767.6446 or email the ADA Coordinator.
Frequently Asked Questions
I AM SOMEONE WITH A DISABILITY WHO IS NOT ABLE TO USE THE TRADITIONAL ABSENTEE VOTING PROCESS. HOW MAY I PRIVATELY AND INDEPENDENTLY MARK MY BALLOT AT HOME?
Ohio’s accessible absentee voting system, also known as the remote ballot marking system is a ballot delivery option that allows you to receive an absentee ballot in an accessible format and on any device connected to the internet. You can access, read, and mark your ballot both privately and independently. This system allows you to use any necessary assistive technology. After a ballot is marked, you must print and return it to your board of elections.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M ELIGIBLE TO USE THE ACCESSIBLE ABSENTEE VOTING SYSTEM?
If you are an Ohio voter with a qualifying disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, who submits a timely application to receive an absentee ballot and requests to mark their ballot using the county-provided accessible absentee voting system, you are eligible.
HOW DO I REQUEST TO USE THE ACCESSIBLE ABSENTEE VOTING SYSTEM?
If you have a qualifying disability, you must provide a written request to the board of elections, by using Form 11-G. This form can be obtained by going to your Ohio Secretary of State website at VoteOhio.gov or from a board of election’s website. After filling out and signing the form, it must be returned to the board of elections. You may also submit any written application to a board of elections that indicates you have a disability and wish to use the accessible absentee voting system. Upon receipt, the board will process the request, including contacting you for more information. Once the board of elections approves the request, it will make the accessible absentee voting system available to you.
WHAT IS THE DEADLINE FOR REQUESTS TO USE THE ACCESSIBLE ABSENTEE VOTING SYSTEM?
If you are a voter with a qualifying disability who wants to use the accessible absentee voting system, you may submit Form 11-G beginning January 1st of the year of the election or 90 days before the election, whichever is earlier. All applications must be returned by noon on the Saturday before Election Day.
HOW DO I RECEIVE MY ACCESSIBLE ABSENTEE BALLOT?
Once the board receives your timely and complete application, the board must transmit the following promptly to your email address:
- A link to access and mark your ballot using the accessible absentee voting system;
- Secretary of State Form 12-A (Identification Envelope – Statement of Voter);
- Form 12-N (Instructions to Voters Using a Remote Ballot Marking System); and
- Any additional instructions prepared by the board of elections or the vendor that you might need to use the accessible absentee voting system.
The board also will send you an absentee ballot identification envelope and statement of voter (Secretary of State Form 12-A) and an absentee ballot return envelope (Secretary of State Form 12-F), via regular U.S. Mail, on the same day that the board emails all of the above to you.
HOW DO I MARK MY ACCESSIBLE ABSENTEE BALLOT?
Once you receive an email from the county board of election with a link to your accessible absentee ballot, you can access and mark the ballot on your computer, laptop, smart phone, tablet, or other device that is connected to the internet. This allows you to use any assistive technology, such as screen readers, input devices, magnification, speech to text software, to mark the ballot privately and independently. After marking your ballot, you must print your ballot and return it to the board of elections. You cannot return your ballot electronically.
HOW DO I RETURN MY ACCESSIBLE ABSENTEE BALLOT?
You can choose to return your absentee ballot using one of the following methods:
- Return by mail by either of the following:
- Complete electronically, print, and sign the Identification Envelope – Statement of Voter (Secretary of State Form 12-A) that the board emailed to you and enclose it with your ballot in any envelope.
- Complete and sign the Identification Envelope – Statement of Voter (Secretary of State Form 12-A) that the board mailed to you and enclose your ballot in the Identification Envelope.
- Return by personal delivery:
- You may deliver the absentee ballot personally, or you may have a qualified family member deliver the absentee ballot to the office of the board of elections only.
WHEN DOES MY ACCESSIBLE ABSENTEE BALLOT NEED TO BE RETURNED TO THE BOARD OF ELECTIONS?
As with all absentee ballots, if returning by mail, the accessible absentee ballot must be postmarked no later than the day before Election Day and received at the board of elections office no later than the 10th day after Election Day (ORC 3509.05(B)(1) Voting and Return Procedure).
If returning in person, the accessible absentee ballot must be returned by the close of polls on Election Day at the office of the board of elections only. No one may return a voted absentee ballot to a precinct polling location.
IS ACCESSIBLE ABSENTEE VOTING ONLINE VOTING?
No, accessible absentee voting is not online voting. When you mark your ballot, there is no connection to the internet or any server. The accessible absentee voting system does not store or transmit your selections over the Internet, and there is not an option for returning a marked ballot online, electronically, or by email. You only need Internet access to receive the email with the link to your ballot.
IF A BOARD OF ELECTION MUST FOLLOW-UP WITH ME REGARDING MY ACCESSIBLE ABSENTEE BALLOT, CAN THE BOARD INQUIRE ABOUT THE NATURE OF MY DISABILITY?
No, a voter with a qualifying disability does not have to disclose any information regarding their disability. You must only attest and sign declaring you have a qualifying disability in order to use the accessible absentee voting system.
ARE THERE ANY COMPUTER REQUIREMENTS TO USE THE ACCESSIBLE ABSENTEE VOTING SYSTEM?
The accessible absentee voting systems that are certified for use in Ohio by the Ohio Board of Voting Machine Examiners are designed to be compatible with a wide range of computing hardware, operating systems, and browsers. Accessible absentee voting systems have also been designed to be compatible with the broadest range of assistive technology in mind, like screen reading software, screen magnification software, refreshable Braille displays, voice recognition software, and other input devices.
CAN I STILL USE THE TRACK YOUR BALLOT PAGE ON THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S OR A COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS WEBSITE IF I USE THE ACCESSIBLE ABSENTEE VOTING SYSTEM?
Yes, after the board of election receives a written application to use the accessible absentee voting system, the ballot can be tracked just like any other absentee ballot.
WHO MAY I CONTACT IF I NEED HELP OR HAVE ISSUES WITH THE ACCESSIBLE ABSENTEE VOTING SYSTEM?
You should contact your local board of elections.
IS THE ACCESSIBLE ABSENTEE VOTING SYSTEM SECURE?
Yes, the Ohio Board of Voting Machine Examiners certifies all accessible absentee voting systems that are used in the State of Ohio. Each accessible absentee voting system is required to undergo testing at a National Voluntary Accreditation Program approved test lab.
DOES THE ACCESSIBLE ABSENTEE VOTING SYSTEM IDENTIFY AND/OR KEEP TRACK OF MY ACTIVITY IN THE SYSTEM?
No, the accessible absentee voting systems do not include any features or communication that can link your identity to ballot selections.