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Ohio absentee ballot request forms being mailed to registered voters this week: Here's what you need to do

All voters who want to cast an absentee ballot are urged to submit their request form as soon as possible -- and no later than Oct. 27.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — With the 2020 election just two months away, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has announced that every registered voter in the state will receive an absentee ballot request form in the mail.

Those forms are expected to arrive in mailboxes throughout Ohio this week, which LaRose’s office says is one week ahead of schedule.

“Ohioans who want to vote by absentee ballot must send their request form back to their county board of elections in order to receive an absentee ballot,” LaRose’s office noted in a press release.

LaRose has recommended that voters submit their absentee ballot request as quickly as possible – but no later than Tuesday, Oct. 27.

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“Whether you’re voting on election day, early in-person or taking advantage of the absentee request form arriving this week in your mailbox, Ohioans should know voting will be safe and secure in Ohio,” LaRose said. “With the convenience of voting from home comes a responsibility – don’t wait to make your voice heard. Get your ballot request form in the mail as soon as you can.”

The election takes place Tuesday, Nov. 3.

“By getting their ballot request forms in early, voters will ease the burden on both county boards of elections staff who are expecting a significant influx of election mail, as well as the postal workers in their community who are working to make sure it’s delivered on time,” according to LaRose’s office.

Here's what the mailer looks like:

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Two more rounds of absentee ballot request forms will be mailed to Ohioans who register to vote now through the Oct. 5 registration deadline. Still need to register? You can do that HERE.

The estimated cost of mailing these forms is $1.1 million, which officials say is being funded by federal CARES dollars.

Below is an outline from LaRose's office with more information about this process:

Best practices for voters to consider when using the absentee ballot option:

  • Doublecheck the information on your form. Review your ballot request and ballot to ensure you have filled it out properly, including writing the appropriate date, providing your required identifying information, and signing the form.
  • Include your e-mail and/or phone number. For the first time in a general election, county board of elections will be calling or e-mailing voters who may need to remedy information on their ballot request form or absentee ballot envelope. Including your information will ensure you can be reached if your ballot request doesn’t have everything filled out properly.
  • Don’t wait. To accommodate necessary processing time at the county board of elections and the time required for the United States Postal Service to deliver elections mail, voters should not procrastinate – fill out and mail your absentee ballot request as soon as possible.
  • Track your ballot. Once their ballot request is received by their county board of elections, voters may track their ballot at VoteOhio.gov/Track. As long as your ballot is postmarked by the day before the election and received within 10 days after the election at your county board of elections, your vote will be tabulated.

Absentee voting in Ohio is time-tested and has strong security checks in place:

Ohioans have utilized absentee voting for nearly two decades, and that has allowed Ohio to put in place both the laws and processes necessary to make absentee voting secure against fraud.

  • Voter identification and signature are checked TWICE during the process
  • Voter list maintenance allows for accurate voter rolls
  • Ballot harvesting is against the law in Ohio
  • Voters are able to track their ballot on VoteOhio.gov/Track

These requirements and processes, as well as strict laws against voter fraud, have made absentee voting secure in Ohio and instances of voter fraud exceedingly rare.

Making it easy to request your absentee ballot:

Since 2012, Ohio has mailed absentee ballot request forms to registered voters in every even-year general election. Only after that application is verified by the bipartisan teams at a county board of elections is a ballot mailed to a voter.

Other interesting facts about this mailing:

  • Last week Secretary LaRose visited with the Ohioans who were producing this mailing.
  • Our office is using informed delivery through USPS as another way to get the word out.
  • The mailing required 17 full-length tractor trailers to deliver to the USPS.

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