COLUMBUS – Today, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced that voting for military and overseas Ohioans has begun for the August 3, 2021 Special Election and for the Special Election Congressional Primaries for voters in Ohio’s 11th and 15th Congressional Districts. All other voters in these designated counties may begin voting in-person or by mail-in absentee ballot starting July 7, 2021.
“Among the most celebrated acts of patriotism are serving our nation in the armed forces and exercising our right to vote – both are critically important to protecting and preserving our democracy,” said LaRose. “To those Ohioans currently living, working or serving overseas, your participation in this fundamentally important democratic process is your opportunity to help shape the future of your communities and our great nation.” Secretary LaRose is a US Special Forces Green Beret combat veteran and current member of the U.S. Army Reserve.
The August 3rd Special Election will include local issues placed on the ballot in five Ohio counties. In addition, voters in Ohio’s 11th and 15th Congressional Districts will vote in the Special Election Congressional Primaries declared by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine pursuant to vacancies in the two congressional districts. Former Congresswoman Marsha Fudge (OH-11) resigned from her seat in March to become Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and former Congressman Steve Stivers resigned in May to become President and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Successful candidates in the August 3rd primaries will then run in the general election on November 2nd, 2021.
Recognizing the complexities of voting from overseas, both federal and state law protect the right and ability for uniformed services and overseas U.S. citizens to vote by providing additional and adequate time for them to apply for and cast an absentee ballot. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act are federal laws ensuring this right in federal elections, while the Ohio General Assembly has incorporated those federal protections into the Ohio Revised Code and extended them to state and local elections.
Due to increased cybersecurity efforts in response to attempted foreign interference in U.S. elections, users in some countries or unsecured locations (i.e. public WiFi, internet cafes) may not be able to immediately access their county or state website. If that occurs, voters are encouraged to visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website at FVAP.gov or call the Ohio Secretary of State’s office at 614-466-2585. The Federal Voting Assistance Program is affiliated with the U.S. Department of Defense and ensures all Service members, their eligible family members, and overseas citizens have the tools and resources to exercise their right to vote.
UOCAVA ballots may be returned by U.S. Postal Service, APO/FPO System, diplomatic pouch or another delivery service such as UPS or FedEx, or in person. An absentee ballot delivered in person must arrive at the board office by the close of polls on Election Day. Absentee ballots returned by mail must be submitted for mailing by 12:01 a.m. on Election Day and must arrive at the board of elections office on or before the 10th day after the election.
As always, all necessary voting information is available online at the Ohio Secretary of State’s Voter Toolkit, VoteOhio.gov. Once there, Ohio voters can download the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), check their voter registration status, find their polling location, view their sample ballot and track the status of their absentee ballot.