How to vote in Ohio’s extended 2020 primary election

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With the novel coronavirus pandemic forcing the closure of polling locations on election day and the extension of the March 17 Primary Election to April 28, nearly all voting will be conducted by mail.  

Go to Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s website

Here you will find instructions to fill out an online form to request an absentee ballot. It is imperative that you click the blue button on the bottom of the form that reads “Open Printer Friendly PDF.”

Then, print the form. Once you have printed the online form, put it in an envelope and mail it to your county board of elections. Here is a link with the list of all 88 county boards of elections.

Information you will need:

  • Ohio Drivers License Number
  • Last 4 digits of your Social Security Number
  • Copy of current ID and valid photo ID (within the last 12 months) utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or another government document (other than a notice of voter registration mailed by a board of elections) that contains your name and current address.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to voting by mail:  

Step 1: Request an application for an absentee ballot.  

Some people do not have access to the internet, a computer, or a printer so they will have to call their county board of elections to request an application be sent to them in the mail. If you have all of those things, you can skip to Step 3.  

Calling the board of elections will get you connected with either a person or an automated system that will get the information needed to send your application for an absentee ballot in the mail. You cannot request a ballot over the phone.  

Step 2. Your county board of elections will send you an application.  

Once they are notified, they will mail you an application. This could take a few days.  

Step 3. Fill out the application and send it back with postage.

After you get the application in the mail or print it off, fill it out carefully. If you make a mistake on this application, it will be rejected. You will need to provide your name, address, the kind of ballot you are requesting (Democrat, Libertarian, Republican, or Issues Only for unaffiliated voters), either your driver’s license number or the last four digits of your social security number and your date of birth.  

You will need to sign and date the application and send it to your board of elections. You will have to provide your own stamp for this piece of mail.  

Step 4. Board of elections verifies your application.

A few days later, the board of elections will receive your application and verify you are who you claim to be. If there are errors on your application or if they cannot verify you as a registered voter, you will be notified and have to start over at Step 3.  

The last day you can request an absentee ballot is April 25. If you wait until the last minute and make a mistake, you will likely not get to vote because there will not be enough time to go through the process again.  

Even if you don’t make a mistake but wait until the last day to request a ballot, you still might miss your chance to vote. If you send your request in on April 25 and it arrives at the board of elections on April 27, you may not get the ballot back in the mail until April 29, the day after the election is over and if that happens, you are out of luck.  

If you are verified, your ballot will be printed and sent to you in the mail. It will come with an additional envelope that has the postage already paid.  

Step 5. Fill out your ballot and send it back.

Yet again, a few more days will pass and eventually you will receive your ballot in the mail. Fill it out, put it in the envelope you were sent with the prepaid postage and send it back to the board of elections.  

You must have your ballot postmarked by April 27 for it to count in the Primary Election. Alternatively, if you get your ballot late, or at the last minute because you waited too long, you can drop off your ballot at your county board of elections in person no later than 7:30 p.m. on April 28.  

Step 6. Board of elections receives your ballot.

A few days after you send your ballot to the board of elections, they will get it and begin the process of counting your vote. As long as you met all the appropriate deadlines, your vote will officially count toward the extended March 17 Primary Election.  

Here’s a quick note about disabled voters:

There will be an opportunity for voters with qualifying disabilities to vote on a machine on April 28.

You must have a qualifying disability or you will not be allowed to vote on the machines. These individuals will have to travel to their county board of elections headquarters to cast their ballots.  

Important information to note:

If you had not already registered to vote by February 18, 2020, you are not eligible to vote in the primary.

You must have your ballot mailed to your board of elections by April 27, 2020 at 7:30 PM.

Military and overseas voters should click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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