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How do you make sure your ballot counts if you vote absentee?

Ohio voters have several avenues for ensuring their ballot is delivered safely. And if you change your mind and want to vote in person, you can - with some caveats.

TOLEDO, Ohio — You've got your absentee ballot completed and ready to go. All of the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed - and you've remembered your signature. 

If you make a mistake filling out the ballot, contact your local board of election and they'll send you a new one.

Now for the next challenge: How does the absentee ballot get to the Board of Elections in the safest way possible? 

DROP BOX

In one option, voters can leave a sealed absentee ballot at the drop box located in every county in Ohio. Drop boxes are checked regularly. There's a pending lawsuit to force the Secretary of State to have more drop boxes, but as of right now, there's one place to turn to in each county.

POSTAL SERVICE GUIDELINES

Voters can also mail the ballot through the United States Postal Service. For the days leading up to the election, and especially the Monday before the election, the Wood County BOE says to get the ballot envelope date stamped.  A date stamp guarantees a vote will be counted, but this has to be done before election day.

REQUEST AND CHANGE YOUR MIND?

If you've requested an absentee ballot and decide you want to vote early in person, you can do so thanks to a directive issued on Sept. 20 by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. This directive clarifies that people who change their minds about mail-in ballots and decide they want to vote early, in person at local boards of elections can do so on a regular ballot. 

It doesn't matter if you vote early in-person or absentee by mail/drop box:  those ballots are all considered absentee ballots under LaRose's directive and will be counted and reflected as absentee ballots on election night. If you requested a mail-in ballot and want to vote in person, early, instead, bring your ballot with you to the early voting location. If you don't have the ballot that was mailed to you, you'll still be allowed to vote and the mail-in ballot will be invalidated by the board of elections.

However, if you change their mind about voting absentee and you go to your polling place in person ON Election Day, you'll have to vote with a provisional ballot. The vote will still count. These ballots are typically counted in the days following Election Day.