COLUMBUS – Today, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced that voting for military and overseas Ohioans has begun for the election on November 2, 2021. All other registered voters may begin voting in-person or by mail-in absentee ballot starting October 5, 2021, with the deadline to register being October 4th. Voters may view their sample ballot on the VoteOhio.gov website.
“As we are all acutely aware, thousands of Americans continue to defend our freedom overseas, including on Election Day when their voice matters just as much as anyone else’s,” said LaRose. “We honor their service by doing everything in our power to protect the rights they fight so hard to preserve.” Secretary LaRose served in the U.S. Special Forces as a Green Beret and currently serves as a member of the U.S. Army Reserve.
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. Ballots may be requested by mail, email, or fax, but must be submitted by mail or in person, like any other 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.
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