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Ohio vote by mail guide

Ohio vote by mail deadlines

  • Earliest day to apply: January 1, 2020
  • Request your mail-in ballot (online): N/A
  • Request your mail-in ballot (by mail): Received by October 31, 2020
  • Request your mail-in ballot (in person): Received by November 2, 2020
  • Return your mail-in ballot (by mail): Postmarked by November 2, 2020
  • Return your mail-in ballot (in person): Received by November 3, 2020

Ohio vote by mail rules

  • For the November 3, 2020 election, every registered voter will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail.
  • Any registered Ohio voter can request an absentee ballot and vote by mail.
  • For the November 3, 2020 election, all county board of election offices will have absentee ballot drop off boxes.

Ohio vote by mail ID requirements

  • Ohio voters must include their Ohio driver's license number, the last 4 digits of their social security number, or a valid, government-issued document with their name and address --- such as a utility bill --- with their ballot request and voted ballot.

Ohio vote by mail directions

In almost all cases, you will need to sign up to vote by mail. The state won’t just mail you a ballot. Don't worry: we will walk you through it. There are only a handful of steps:

  1. You submit an application to vote by mail
  2. Your local election office processes your application
  3. Your local election office sends your ballot to you
  4. You vote using the ballot and return it by the deadline

Apply to vote by mail

  1. Download the Ohio vote by mail application.
  2. Fill out all of the required fields.
  3. Print the form.
  4. Sign and date your form. This is very important.
  5. Mail or hand-deliver your completed form directly to your local election office as soon as possible, but no later than the deadline.
  6. If it’s close to the deadline, call your Local Election Office and see if they will let you submit your form via email or fax.
  7. The deadline to apply by mail is: received by October 31, 2020

Apply to vote by mail in person

  1. Visit your Local Election Office.
  2. Ask the clerk to give you an absentee ballot application.
  3. Fill out all of the required fields.
  4. Sign and date your application.
  5. The deadline to apply in person is: received by November 2, 2020

How to vote by mail

  1. Carefully read and follow the instructions.
  2. Fill out all of the required fields.
  3. Sign and date the outside envelope.
  4. Mail or hand-deliver your ballot to your Local Election Office. You can also hand-deliver your ballot to a state-provided dropbox.
  5. Your ballot must be received by the deadline or it will not be counted.

Two important things to note:

  1. The Local Election Office will compare your signature on your voted ballot to the one on your driver’s license and on your voter registration form to make sure they match. So please sign carefully.
  2. The post office will deliver your ballot even if you don’t have a stamp as long as you use the return envelope provided by your state. This envelope will say “official election mail.” The USPS will always deliver official election mail -- no stamp needed.

Questions? Need help?

Contact your local elections office if you have any questions about voting by mail in Ohio.

Statewide election office

Secretary of State of Ohio
Elections Division
180 E. Broad Street - 15th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215