Want to still request an absentee ballot in Ohio? Do it ASAP

By: - October 28, 2020 12:40 am

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Time is quickly running out.

Ohioans looking to vote by mail or drop box, but who haven’t yet requested their ballot, should put in their requests as soon as possible.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is technically Saturday, Oct. 31 at noon, but Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is warning that date may be too late to ensure the ballot is mailed out to the voter in time.

Here’s what to do if you still want to request a ballot — and how to ensure you can cast a ballot should there be any issues with timing.

Requesting a ballot

Ballot requests must be filled out and sent to your county’s board of elections office. 

You might still have a blank request form that was mailed to you back in September. If not, blank forms are available online to be printed off.

Those without a printer can “make their own” ballot request by including all of the necessary information (name, date of birth, etc.) on a piece of paper. Click here for details on what to include. 

These requests can either be mailed to the board of elections office or dropped off at the designated drop box located at each office. A directory of office addresses is available here

Receiving a blank ballot

After the board has received your eligible ballot request form, the office will mail you the blank absentee ballot.

Like request forms, the ballot can be submitted for counting in one of two ways. Voters can mail it back to their board of elections office — it must be postmarked by Nov. 2 (the day before the election) in order to be counted. So long as it is postmarked in time, ballots received up to 10 days after the election will get counted.

Or, ballots can be dropped off at the designated drop box located at each office. This option gives you more time — ballots can be dropped off until polls close at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 3 (Election Day). Close relatives are allowed to drop off a ballot for you.

Below is a map of all boards of elections offices (drop box sites): 

What to do if you request an absentee ballot, but worry about getting it in time

Voters have several ways to cast a ballot even if they have requested an absentee ballot.

Let’s say you have requested a ballot, but are still waiting to receive it. Or you have received it, but worry about getting it back to the board of elections in time.

You have options.

Ohioans can head to their board of elections office to cast an early in-person vote. So long as you have not already mailed back/dropped off your absentee ballot, you can cast a normal ballot during early voting. 

All 88 counties have the same early voting calendar:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 28: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 29: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 30: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 31: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 1: 1-5 p.m.
  • Monday, Nov. 2: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Another option is to vote on Election Day at your designated polling place. If you haven’t already mailed back/dropped off your absentee ballot, you can vote on Nov. 3. In this case, you’ll be required to cast a provisional ballot, but so long as you are otherwise eligible the ballot will be counted.



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Tyler Buchanan
Tyler Buchanan

Tyler Buchanan is an award-winning journalist who has covered Ohio politics and government for the past decade. A Bellevue native and graduate of Bowling Green State University, he most recently spent 6 1/2 years as a reporter and editor of The Athens Messenger and Vinton-Jackson Courier newspapers. He is a member of the BG News Alumni Society Board and was a 2019 fellow in the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism.