arrowSection 4.2 - Ballot Design

This topic is monitored by Moritz Law Professor Mary Beth Beazley

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Relevant Ohio Revised Code Statutes

§ 3505.01. Form of official ballots; certification of names of candidates; supplemental certification.

On the sixtieth day before the day of the next general election, the secretary of state shall certify to the board of elections of each county the forms of the official ballots to be used at that general election, together with the names of the candidates to be printed on those ballots whose candidacy is to be submitted to the electors of the entire state. In the case of the presidential ballot for a general election , that certification shall be made on the fifty-fifth day before the day of the general election. On the seventy-fifth day before a special election to be held on the day specified by division (E) of section 3501.01 of the Revised Code for the holding of a primary election, designated by the general assembly for the purpose of submitting to the voters of the state constitutional amendments proposed by the general assembly, the secretary of state shall certify to the board of elections of each county the forms of the official ballots to be used at that election.

The board of the most populous county in each district comprised of more than one county but less than all of the counties of the state, in which there are candidates whose candidacies are to be submitted to the electors of that district, shall, on the sixtieth day before the day of the next general election, certify to the board of each county in the district the names of those candidates to be printed on such ballots.

The board of a county in which the major portion of a subdivision, located in more than one county, is located shall, on the sixtieth day before the day of the next general election, certify to the board of each county in which other portions of that subdivision are located the names of candidates whose candidacies are to be submitted to the electors of that subdivision, to be printed on such ballots.

If, subsequently to the sixtieth day before, or in the case of a presidential ballot for a general election the fifty-fifth day before, and prior to the tenth day before the day of a general election, a certificate is filed with the secretary of state to fill a vacancy caused by the death of a candidate, the secretary of state shall forthwith make a supplemental certification to the board of each county amending and correcting the secretary of state's original certification provided for in the first paragraph of this section. If, within that time, such a certificate is filed with the board of the most populous county in a district comprised of more than one county but less than all of the counties of the state, or with the board of a county in which the major portion of the population of a subdivision, located in more than one county, is located, the board with which the certificate is filed shall forthwith make a supplemental certification to the board of each county in the district or to the board of each county in which other portions of the subdivision are located, amending and correcting its original certification provided for in the second and third paragraphs of this section. If, at the time such supplemental certification is received by a board, ballots carrying the name of the deceased candidate have been printed, the board shall cause strips of paper bearing the name of the candidate certified to fill the vacancy to be printed and pasted on those ballots so as to cover the name of the deceased candidate, except that in voting places using marking devices, the board shall cause strips of paper bearing the revised list of candidates for the office, after certification of a candidate to fill the vacancy, to be printed and pasted on the ballot cards so as to cover the names of candidates shown prior to the new certification, before such ballots are delivered to electors.

§ 3505.02. Former names to be printed on ballot.

Any former names which have been declared or submitted in accordance with section 3513.06 of the Revised Code shall be printed on the ballot in parentheses directly below the present name of such person. This section applies to both primary and general election ballots.

§ 3505.021. Candidates with identical names.

In the event two or more persons with identical given names and surnames run for the same office in a general or special election on the same ballot, the names of the candidates shall be differentiated on the ballot by varying combinations of first and middle names and initials. Immediately after it becomes known that two or more persons with the same given name and surname are to be candidates on the same ballot for the same office, the director of the board of elections for local, municipal, county, general, or special elections, or the director of the board of elections of the most populous county for district, general, or special elections, or the secretary of state for statewide general and special elections shall notify the persons with identical given name and surnames that the names of such persons will be differentiated on the ballot. If one of the candidates is an incumbent who is a candidate to succeed himself for the office he occupies, he shall have first choice of the name by which he is designated on the ballot. If an incumbent does not make a choice within two days after notification or if none of the candidates is an incumbent, the board of elections within three days after notification shall designate the names by which the candidates are identified on the ballot. In case of a district candidate the board of elections in the most populous county of the district shall make the determination. In case of statewide candidates, or in case any board of elections fails to make a designation within three days after notification, the secretary of state shall immediately make the determination.

"Notification" as required by this section shall be by the clerk of the board of elections or secretary of state by special delivery mail or telegram at the candidate's address listed in his declaration of candidacy or petition of candidacy.

§ 3505.03. Office type ballot.

On the office type ballot shall be printed the names of all candidates for election to offices, except judicial offices, who were nominated at the most recent primary election as candidates of a political party or who were nominated in accordance with section 3513.02 of the Revised Code, and the names of all candidates for election to offices who were nominated by nominating petitions, except candidates for judicial offices, for member of the state board of education, for member of a board of education, for municipal offices, and for township offices.

The face of the ballot below the stub shall be substantially in the following form:

"OFFICIAL OFFICE TYPE BALLOT

(A) To vote for a candidate record your vote in the manner provided next to the name of such candidate.

(B) If you tear, soil, deface, or erroneously mark this ballot, return it to the precinct election officers or, if you cannot return it, notify the precinct election officers, and obtain another ballot."

The order in which the offices shall be listed on the ballot shall be prescribed by, and certified to each board of elections by, the secretary of state; provided that for state, district, and county offices the order from top to bottom shall be as follows: governor and lieutenant governor, attorney general, auditor of state, secretary of state, treasurer of state, United States senator, representative to congress, state senator, state representative, county commissioner, county auditor, prosecuting attorney, clerk of the court of common pleas, sheriff, county recorder, county treasurer, county engineer, and coroner. The offices of governor and lieutenant governor shall be printed on the ballot in a manner that requires a voter to cast one vote jointly for the candidates who have been nominated by the same political party or petition.

The names of all candidates for an office shall be arranged in a group under the title of that office, and, except for absentee ballots or when the number of candidates for a particular office is the same as the number of candidates to be elected for that office, shall be rotated from one precinct to another. On absentee ballots, the names of all candidates for an office shall be arranged in a group under the title of that office and shall be so alternated that each name shall appear, insofar as may be reasonably possible, substantially an equal number of times at the beginning, at the end, and in each intermediate place, if any, of the group in which such name belongs, unless the number of candidates for a particular office is the same as the number of candidates to be elected for that office.

The method of printing the ballots to meet the rotation requirement of this section shall be as follows: the least common multiple of the number of names in each of the several groups of candidates shall be used, and the number of changes made in the printer's forms in printing the ballots shall correspond with that multiple. The board of elections shall number all precincts in regular serial sequence. In the first precinct, the names of the candidates in each group shall be listed in alphabetical order. In each succeeding precinct, the name in each group that is listed first in the preceding precinct shall be listed last, and the name of each candidate shall be moved up one place. In each precinct using paper ballots, the printed ballots shall then be assembled in tablets.

Under the name of each candidate nominated at a primary election and each candidate certified by a party committee to fill a vacancy under section 3513.31 of the Revised Code shall be printed, in less prominent type face than that in which the candidate's name is printed, the name of the political party by which the candidate was nominated or certified. Under the name of each candidate appearing on the ballot who filed a nominating petition and requested a ballot designation as a nonparty candidate under section 3513.257 [3513.25.7] of the Revised Code shall be printed, in less prominent type face than that in which the candidate's name is printed, the designation of "nonparty candidate." Under the name of each candidate appearing on the ballot who filed a nominating petition and requested a ballot designation as an other-party candidate under section 3513.257 [3513.25.7] of the Revised Code shall be printed, in less prominent type face than that in which the candidate's name is printed, the designation of "other-party candidate." No designation shall appear under the name of a candidate appearing on the ballot who filed a nominating petition and requested that no ballot designation appear under the candidate's name under section 3513.257 [3513.25.7] of the Revised Code, or who filed a nominating petition and failed to request a ballot designation either as a nonparty candidate or as an other-party candidate under that section.

Except as provided in this section, no words, designations, or emblems descriptive of a candidate or the candidate's political affiliation, or indicative of the method by which the candidate was nominated or certified, shall be printed under or after a candidate's name that is printed on the ballot.

§ 3505.04. Nonpartisan ballots.

On the nonpartisan ballot shall be printed the names of all nonpartisan candidates for election to judicial office, office of member of the state board of education, office of member of a board of education, municipal or township offices for municipal corporations and townships in which primary elections are not held for nomination of candidates by political parties, and municipal offices of municipal corporations having charters which provide for separate ballots for elections for such municipal offices.

Such ballots shall have printed across the top, and below the stubs, "Official Nonpartisan Ballot."

The order in which the offices are listed on the ballot shall be prescribed by, and certified to each board of elections by, the secretary of state; provided that the office of member of the state board of education shall be listed first on the ballot, then state, district, and county judicial offices shall be listed on the ballot in such order, followed by municipal and township offices, and by offices of member of a board of education, in the order stated.

Within the rectangular space within which the title of each judicial office is printed on the ballot and immediately below such title shall be printed the date of the commencement of the term of the office, if a full term, as follows: "Full term commencing ...... (Date) ...... ," or the date of the end of the term of the office, if an unexpired term, as follows: "Unexpired term ending ...... (Date) ...... " The secretary of state shall prescribe the information and directions to the voter to be printed on the ballot within the rectangular space in which the title of office of member of the state board of education appears.

Within the rectangular space within which the title of each office for member of a board of education is printed on the ballot shall be printed "For Member of Board of Education," and the number to be elected, directions to the voter as to voting for one, two, or more, and, if the office to be voted for is member of a board of education of a city school district, words shall be printed in said space on the ballot to indicate whether candidates are to be elected from subdistricts or at large.

The names of all nonpartisan candidates for an office shall be arranged in a group under the title of that office, and shall be rotated and printed on the ballot as provided in section 3505.03 of the Revised Code.

No name or designation of any political party nor any words, designations, or emblems descriptive of a candidate or his political affiliation, or indicative of the method by which such candidate was nominated or certified, shall be printed under or after any nonpartisan candidate's name which is printed on the ballot.

§ 3505.06. Questions and issues ballot.

(A) On the questions and issues ballot shall be printed all questions and issues to be submitted at any one election together with the percentage of affirmative votes necessary for passage as required by law. Such ballots shall have printed across the top thereof, and below the stubs, "Official Questions and Issues Ballot."

(B) (1) Questions and issues shall be grouped together on the ballot from top to bottom as provided in division (B)(1) of this section, except as otherwise provided in division (B)(2) of this section. State questions and issues shall always appear as the top group of questions and issues. In calendar year 1997, the following questions and issues shall be grouped together on the ballot, in the following order from top to bottom, after the state questions and issues:

  1. County questions and issues;
  2. Municipal questions and issues;
  3. Township questions and issues;
  4. School or other district questions and issues.

In each succeeding calendar year after 1997, each group of questions and issues described in division (B)(1)(a) to (d) of this section shall be moved down one place on the ballot except that the group that was last on the ballot during the immediately preceding calendar year shall appear at the top of the ballot after the state questions and issues. The rotation shall be performed only once each calendar year, beginning with the first election held during the calendar year. The rotation of groups of questions and issues shall be performed during each calendar year as required by division (B)(1) of this section, even if no questions and issues from any one or more such groups appear on the ballot at any particular election held during that calendar year.

(2) Questions and issues shall be grouped together on the ballot, from top to bottom, in the following order when it is not practicable to group them together as required by division (B)(1) of this section because of the type of voting machines used by the board of elections: state questions and issues, county questions and issues, municipal questions and issues, township questions and issues, and school or other district questions and issues. The particular order in which each of a group of state questions or issues is placed on the ballot shall be determined by, and certified to each board of elections by, the secretary of state.

(3) Failure of the board of elections to rotate questions and issues as required by division (B)(1) of this section does not affect the validity of the election at which the failure occurred, and is not grounds for contesting an election under section 3515.08 of the Revised Code.

(C) The particular order in which each of a group of county, municipal, township, or school district questions or issues is placed on the ballot shall be determined by the board providing the ballots.

(D) The printed matter pertaining to each question or issue on the ballot shall be enclosed at the top and bottom thereof by a heavy horizontal line across the width of the ballot. Immediately below such top line shall be printed a brief title descriptive of the question or issue below it, such as "Proposed Constitutional Amendment," "Proposed Bond Issue," "Proposed Annexation of Territory," "Proposed Increase in Tax Rate," or such other brief title as will be descriptive of the question or issue to which it pertains, together with a brief statement of the percentage of affirmative votes necessary for passage, such as "A sixty-five per cent affirmative vote is necessary for passage," "A majority vote is necessary for passage," or such other brief statement as will be descriptive of the percentage of affirmative votes required.

(E) The questions and issues ballot need not contain the full text of the proposal to be voted upon. A condensed text that will properly describe the question, issue, or an amendment proposed by other than the general assembly shall be used as prepared and certified by the secretary of state for state-wide questions or issues or by the board for local questions or issues. If other than a full text is used, the full text of the proposed question, issue, or amendment together with the percentage of affirmative votes necessary for passage as required by law shall be posted in each polling place in some spot that is easily accessible to the voters.

(F) Each question and issue appearing on the questions and issues ballot may be consecutively numbered. The question or issue determined to appear at the top of the ballot may be designated on the face thereof by the Arabic numeral "1" and all questions and issues placed below on the ballot shall be consecutively numbered. Such numeral shall be placed below the heavy top horizontal line enclosing such question or issue and to the left of the brief title thereof.

§ 3505.07. Separate ballots permitted.

(A) If the board of elections, by a unanimous vote of its members, or if the secretary of state, in the secretary of state's sole discretion, finds it impracticable to place the names of candidates for any office of a minor political subdivision in the county or the wording of any question or issue to be voted upon in such minor political subdivision on the ballots under sections 3505.01 to 3505.09 of the Revised Code, then such board may, or at the direction of the secretary of state shall, provide separate ballots for the candidates, question, or issue.

(B) If the secretary of state, in the secretary of state's sole discretion, determines that it is impracticable to place the names of candidates for any office or the wording for any question or issue to be voted upon on the ballot when the candidates, question, issue, or wording for the question or issue was ordered onto the ballot by a court of competent jurisdiction and the ballots have been printed prior to the court order, the board of elections, at the direction of the secretary of state, shall provide separate ballots for the candidates, question, or issue.

(C) All separate ballots provided for in this section shall conform in quality of paper, style of printing, form of ballot, arrangement of names, and in all other ways, in so far as practicable, with the provisions relating to the printing of the general official ballot. Separate ballot boxes shall be provided for each such separate kind of ballot.

§ 3505.08. Ballots provided for elections; sample ballots.

(A) Ballots shall be provided by the board of elections for all general and special elections. The ballots shall be printed with black ink on No. 2 white book paper fifty pounds in weight per ream assuming such ream to consist of five hundred sheets of such paper twenty-five by thirty-eight inches in size. Each ballot shall have attached at the top two stubs, each of the width of the ballot and not less than one-half inch in length, except that, if the board of elections has an alternate method to account for the ballots that the secretary of state has authorized, each ballot may have only one stub that shall be the width of the ballot and not less than one-half inch in length. In the case of ballots with two stubs, the stubs shall be separated from the ballot and from each other by perforated lines. The top stub shall be known as Stub B and shall have printed on its face "Stub B." The other stub shall be known as Stub A and shall have printed on its face "Stub A." Each stub shall also have printed on its face "Consecutive Number ......"

Each ballot of each kind of ballot provided for use in each precinct shall be numbered consecutively beginning with number 1 by printing such number upon both of the stubs attached to the ballot. On ballots bearing the names of candidates, each candidate's name shall be printed in twelve point boldface upper case type in an enclosed rectangular space, and an enclosed blank rectangular space shall be provided at the left of the candidate's name. The name of the political party of a candidate nominated at a primary election or certified by a party committee shall be printed in ten point lightface upper and lower case type and shall be separated by a two point blank space. The name of each candidate shall be indented one space within the enclosed rectangular space, and the name of the political party shall be indented two spaces within the enclosed rectangular space.

The title of each office on the ballots shall be printed in twelve point boldface upper and lower case type in a separate enclosed rectangular space. A four point rule shall separate the name of a candidate or a group of candidates for the same office from the title of the office next appearing below on the ballot ; a two point rule shall separate the title of the office from the names of candidates; and a one point rule shall separate names of candidates. Headings shall be printed in display Roman type. When the names of several candidates are grouped together as candidates for the same office, there shall be printed on the ballots immediately below the title of the office and within the separate rectangular space in which the title is printed "Vote for not more than ......," in six point boldface upper and lower case filling the blank space with that number which will indicate the number of persons who may be lawfully elected to the office.

Columns on ballots shall be separated from each other by a heavy vertical border or solid line at least one-eighth of an inch wide, and a similar vertical border or line shall enclose the left and right side of ballots. Ballots shall be trimmed along the sides close to such lines.

The ballots provided for by this section shall be comprised of four kinds of ballots designated as follows: office type ballot; nonpartisan ballot; questions and issues ballot; and presidential ballot.

On the back of each office type ballot shall be printed "Official Office Type Ballot;" on the back of each nonpartisan ballot shall be printed "Official Nonpartisan Ballot;" on the back of each questions and issues ballot shall be printed "Official Questions and Issues Ballot;" and on the back of each presidential ballot shall be printed "Official Presidential Ballot." On the back of every ballot also shall be printed the date of the election at which the ballot is used and the facsimile signatures of the members of the board of the county in which the ballot is used. For the purpose of identifying the kind of ballot, the back of every ballot may be numbered in the order the board shall determine. The numbers shall be printed in not less than thirty-six point type above the words "Official Office Type Ballot," "Official Nonpartisan Ballot," "Official Questions and Issues Ballot," or "Official Presidential Ballot," as the case may be. Ballot boxes bearing corresponding numbers shall be furnished for each precinct in which the above - described numbered ballots are used.

On the back of every ballot used, there shall be a solid black line printed opposite the blank rectangular space that is used to mark the choice of the voter. This line shall be printed wide enough so that the mark in the blank rectangular space will not be visible from the back side of the ballot.

Sample ballots may be printed by the board of elections for all general elections. The ballots shall be printed on colored paper, and "Sample Ballot" shall be plainly printed in boldface type on the face of each ballot. In counties of less than one hundred thousand population, the board may print not more than five hundred sample ballots; in all other counties, it may print not more than one thousand sample ballots. The sample ballots shall not be distributed by a political party or a candidate, nor shall a political party or candidate cause their title or name to be imprinted on sample ballots.

(B) Notwithstanding division (A) of this section, in approving the form of an official ballot, the secretary of state may authorize the use of fonts, type face settings, and ballot formats other than those prescribed in that division.

§ 3505.09. Separate ballots for each precinct.

In election precincts composed of a township or a part thereof, and a municipal corporation or a part thereof, separate ballots for each precinct shall be provided for all elections, so as to enable electors residing in such precincts to cast their votes for the proper candidates in such precincts. Separate ballots shall be provided for each district portion of each precinct which shall contain the names of the candidates for members of the board of education for whom the electors residing in such district are entitled to vote. In the case of overlapping school districts, the ballots shall be so printed as to plainly identify each district for which candidates are to be chosen.

§ 3505.10. Presidential ballot.

(A) On the presidential ballot below the stubs at the top of the face of the ballot shall be printed "Official Presidential Ballot" centered between the side edges of the ballot. Below "Official Presidential Ballot" shall be printed a heavy line centered between the side edges of the ballot. Below the line shall be printed "Instruction to Voters" centered between the side edges of the ballot, and below those words shall be printed the following instructions:

(1) To vote for the candidates for president and vice-president whose names are printed below, record your vote in the manner provided next to the names of such candidates. That recording of the vote will be counted as a vote for each of the candidates for presidential elector whose names have been certified to the secretary of state and who are members of the same political party as the nominees for president and vice-president. A recording of the vote for independent candidates for president and vice-president shall be counted as a vote for the presidential electors filed by such candidates with the secretary of state.

(2) To vote for candidates for president and vice-president in the blank space below, record your vote in the manner provided and write the names of your choice for president and vice-president under the respective headings provided for those offices. Such write-in will be counted as a vote for the candidates' presidential electors whose names have been properly certified to the secretary of state.

(3) If you tear, soil, deface, or erroneously mark this ballot, return it to the precinct election officers or, if you cannot return it, notify the precinct election officers, and obtain another ballot."

(B) Below those instructions to the voter shall be printed a single vertical column of enclosed rectangular spaces equal in number to the number of presidential candidates plus one additional space for write-in candidates. Each of those rectangular spaces shall be enclosed by a heavy line along each of its four sides, and such spaces shall be separated from each other by one-half inch of open space.

In each of those enclosed rectangular spaces, except the space provided for write-in candidates, shall be printed the names of the candidates for president and vice-president certified to the secretary of state or nominated in one of the following manners:

(1) Nominated by the national convention of a political party to which delegates and alternates were elected in this state at the next preceding primary election. A political party certifying candidates so nominated shall certify the names of those candidates to the secretary of state on or before the sixtieth day before the day of the general election.

(2) Nominated by nominating petition in accordance with section 3513.257 [3513.25.7] of the Revised Code. Such a petition shall be filed on or before the seventy-fifth day before the day of the general election to provide sufficient time to verify the sufficiency and accuracy of signatures on it.

(3) Certified to the secretary of state for placement on the presidential ballot by authorized officials of an intermediate or minor political party that has held a state or national convention for the purpose of choosing those candidates or that may, without a convention, certify those candidates in accordance with the procedure authorized by its party rules. The officials shall certify the names of those candidates to the secretary of state on or before the sixtieth day before the day of the general election. The certification shall be accompanied by a designation of a sufficient number of presidential electors to satisfy the requirements of law.

The names of candidates for electors of president and vice-president shall not be placed on the ballot, but shall be certified to the secretary of state as required by sections 3513.11 and 3513.257 [3513.25.7] of the Revised Code. A vote for any candidates for president and vice-president shall be a vote for the electors of those candidates whose names have been certified to the secretary of state.

(C) The arrangement of the printing in each of the enclosed rectangular spaces shall be substantially as follows: Near the top and centered within the rectangular space shall be printed "For President" in ten-point boldface upper and lower case type. Below "For President" shall be printed the name of the candidate for president in twelve-point boldface upper case type. Below the name of the candidate for president shall be printed the name of the political party by which that candidate for president was nominated in eight-point lightface upper and lower case type. Below the name of such political party shall be printed "For Vice-President" in ten-point boldface upper and lower case type. Below "For Vice-President" shall be printed the name of the candidate for vice-president in twelve-point boldface upper case type. Below the name of the candidate for vice-president shall be printed the name of the political party by which that candidate for vice-president was nominated in eight-point lightface upper and lower case type. No political identification or name of any political party shall be printed below the names of presidential and vice-presidential candidates nominated by petition.

The rectangular spaces on the ballot described in this section shall be rotated and printed as provided in section 3505.03 of the Revised Code.

§ 3505.11. Ballots in tablets.

(A) The ballots, with the stubs attached, shall be bound into tablets for each precinct, which tablets shall contain at least one per cent more ballots than the total registration in the precinct, except as otherwise provided in division (B) of this section. Upon the covers of the tablets shall be written, printed, or stamped the designation of the precinct for which the ballots have been prepared. All official ballots shall be printed uniformly upon the same kind and quality of paper and shall be of the same shape, size, and type.

Electors who have failed to respond within thirty days to any confirmation notice shall not be counted in determining the number of ballots to be printed under this section.

(B) (1) A board of elections may choose to provide ballots on demand. If a board so chooses, the board shall have prepared for each precinct at least five per cent more ballots for an election than the number specified below for that kind of election:

  1. For a primary election or a special election held on the day of a primary election, the total number of electors in that precinct who voted in the primary election held four years previously;
  2. For a general election or a special election held on the day of a general election, the total number of electors in that precinct who voted in the general election held four years previously;
  3. For a special election held at any time other than on the day of a primary or general election, the total number of electors in that precinct who voted in the most recent primary or general election, whichever of those elections occurred in the precinct most recently.

(2) If, after the board complies with the requirements of division (B)(1) of this section, the election officials of a precinct determine that the precinct will not have enough ballots to enable all the qualified electors in the precinct who wish to vote at a particular election to do so, the officials shall request that the board provide additional ballots, and the board shall provide enough additional ballots, to that precinct in a timely manner so that all qualified electors in that precinct who wish to vote at that election may do so.

§ 3505.12. Ballots and instructions.

The board of elections shall cause to be printed in English in twelve point type on paper or cardboard instructions as issued by the secretary of state for the guidance of electors in marking their ballots. Such instructions shall inform the voters as to how to prepare the ballots for voting, how to obtain a new ballot in case of accidentally spoiling one, and, in a smaller type, a summary of the important sections of the penal law relating to crimes against the elective franchise. The precinct election officials shall cause to be posted immediately in front of or on the polling place and in each voting shelf one or more of such cards of instructions.

§ 3505.13. Contract for printing ballots.

A contract for the printing of ballots involving a cost in excess of ten thousand dollars shall not be let until after five days' notice published once in a leading newspaper published in the county or upon notice given by mail by the board of elections, addressed to the responsible printing offices within the state. Except as otherwise provided in this section, each bid for such printing must be accompanied by a bond with at least two sureties, or a surety company, satisfactory to the board, in a sum double the amount of the bid, conditioned upon the faithful performance of the contract for such printing as is awarded and for the payment as damages by such bidder to the board of any excess of cost over the bid which it may be obliged to pay for such work by reason of the failure of the bidder to complete the contract. No bid unaccompanied by such bond shall be considered by the board. The board may, however, waive the requirement that each bid be accompanied by a bond if the cost of the contract is ten thousand dollars or less. The contract shall be let to the lowest responsible bidder in the state. All ballots shall be printed within the state.

§ 3505.14. Proofs of ballot.

After the letting of the contract for the printing of the ballots as provided in section 3505.13 of the Revised Code, the board of elections shall secure from the printer printed proofs of the ballot, and shall notify the chairman of the local executive committee of each party or group represented on the ballot by candidates or issues, and post such proofs in a public place in the office of the board for a period of at least twenty-four hours for inspection and correction of any errors appearing thereon. The board shall cause such proofs to be read with care and after correcting any errors shall return the corrected copy to the printer.

§ 3505.15. Packaging of ballots.

The board of elections shall make adequate provision for the inspection of the printing of the ballots. The person to whom the contract for printing the ballots is let shall seal them securely in packages, one package for each precinct in the county or civil division in which the election is to be held, place a paper cover over them, and indicate on such cover the number of ballots contained therein with a space to indicate the precinct, and deliver them to the board at such time and place as the board directs. The board, upon receiving such package, shall give a receipt for the ballots indicating the number of ballots in each package and the number of the precinct in each case.

§ 3509.01. Absent voter's ballots.

The board of elections of each county shall provide absent voter's ballots for use at every primary and general election, or special election to be held on the day specified by division (E) of section 3501.01 of the Revised Code for the holding of a primary election, designated by the general assembly for the purpose of submitting constitutional amendments proposed by the general assembly to the voters of the state. Those ballots shall be the same size, shall be printed on the same kind of paper, and shall be in the same form as has been approved for use at the election for which those ballots are to be voted; except that, in counties using marking devices, ballot cards may be used for absent voter's ballots, and those absent voters shall be instructed to record the vote in the manner provided on the ballot cards. In counties where punch card ballots are used, those absent voters shall be instructed to examine their marked ballot cards and to remove any chads that remain partially attached to them before returning them to election officials.

The rotation of names of candidates and questions and issues shall be substantially complied with on absent voter's ballots, within the limitation of time allotted. Those ballots shall be designated as "Absent Voter's Ballots" and shall be printed and ready for use on the thirty-fifth day before the day of the election, except that those ballots shall be printed and ready for use on the twenty-fifth day before the day of a presidential primary election.

Absent voter's ballots provided for use at a general or primary election, or special election to be held on the day specified by division (E) of section 3501.01 of the Revised Code for the holding of a primary election, designated by the general assembly for the purpose of submitting constitutional amendments proposed by the general assembly to the voters of the state, shall include only those questions, issues, and candidacies that have been lawfully ordered submitted to the electors voting at that election.

Absent voter's ballots for special elections held on days other than the day on which general or primary elections are held shall be ready for use as many days before the day of the election as reasonably possible under the laws governing the holding of that special election.

A copy of the absent voter's ballots shall be forwarded by the director of the board in each county to the secretary of state at least twenty-five days before the election.

As used in this section, "chad" and "punch card ballot" have the same meanings as in section 3506.16 of the Revised Code.

§ 3509.031. Absentee ballots for militia members on active duty.

Any qualified elector who is a member of the organized militia called to active duty within the state of Ohio and who will be unable to vote on election day on account of such active duty may make written application for absent voter's ballots to the director of elections for the county in which his voting residence is located. The elector may personally deliver such application to the director or may mail, send it by facsimile machine, or otherwise send it to the director. Such application need not be in any particular form but shall contain the applicant's signature. The application need only contain words which, liberally construed, indicate the request for ballots, the election for which such ballots are requested and, if the request is for primary election ballots, the party affiliation of the applicant. The applicant should indicate that the applicant is a qualified elector, and that the applicant is a member of the organized militia serving on active duty within the state of Ohio. Sufficient information should be included to enable the director to determine the precinct in which his voting residence is located. If the applicant desires that such ballots be mailed to him, the application shall state the address to which they shall be mailed. If the applicant desires that the absent voter's ballots be sent to the applicant by facsimile machine, the application shall state the telephone number to which they shall be so sent.

Application to have such ballots mailed or sent by facsimile machine to such person may be made by the spouse of the militia member, the father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandfather, grandmother, brother or sister of the whole blood or half blood, son, daughter, adopting parent, adopted child, stepparent, stepchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece of such person. The application shall be in writing upon a blank form furnished only by the director. The form of the application shall be prescribed by the secretary of state. The director shall furnish such blank form to any of the relatives specified in this section, desiring to make such application, only upon the request of such relative in person at the office of the board or upon the written request of such relative mailed to the office of the board. Such application, subscribed and sworn to by such applicant, shall contain:

(A) Full name of person for whom ballots are requested;

(B) Statement that such person is a qualified elector and that such person has a residence in the county and information as to the location of such voting residence;

(C) Statement that such person is a member of the organized militia serving on active duty within the state of Ohio;

(D) Statement that applicant bears a relationship to such person as specified in this section;

(E) Election for which ballots are requested, and, if for a primary election, party affiliation of persons for whom ballots are requested;

(F) Address to which ballots shall be mailed or telephone number to which ballots shall be sent by facsimile machine;

(G) Signature and address of person making the application.

Applications to have absent voter's ballots mailed or sent by facsimile machine shall not be valid if dated, postmarked, or received by the director prior to the ninetieth day before the day of the election for which ballots are requested or if delivered to such director later than twelve noon of the third day preceding the day of such election. If, after the ninetieth day and before four p.m. of the day before the day of an election, a valid application for absent voter's ballots is delivered to the director of elections at the office of the board by a militia member making such application in his own behalf the director shall forthwith deliver to such militia member all absent voter's ballots then ready for use, together with an identification envelope. Such militia member shall then vote such ballots in the manner provided in section 3509.05 of the Revised Code.

§ 3509.031. Absentee ballots for militia members on active duty. (Effective 5/2/06)

(A) Any qualified elector who is a member of the organized militia called to active duty within the state and who will be unable to vote on election day on account of that active duty may make written application for absent voter's ballots to the director of elections for the county in which the elector's voting residence is located. The elector may personally deliver the application to the director or may mail it, send it by facsimile machine, or otherwise send it to the director. The application need not be in any particular form but shall contain all of the following:


(1) The elector's name;


(2) The elector's signature;


(3) The address at which the elector is registered to vote;


(4) The elector's date of birth;


(5) One of the following:


(a) The elector's driver's license number;
(b) The last four digits of the elector's social security number;
(c) A copy of the elector's current and valid photo identification, a copy of a military identification that shows the elector's name and current address, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document, other than a notice of an election mailed by a board of elections under section 3501.19 of the Revised Code or a notice of voter registration mailed by a board of elections under section 3503.19 of the Revised Code, that shows the name and address of the elector.


(6) A statement identifying the election for which absent voter's ballots are requested;


(7) A statement that the person requesting the ballots is a qualified elector;


(8) A statement that the elector is a member of the organized militia serving on active duty within the state;


(9) If the request is for primary election ballots, the elector's party affiliation;


(10) If the elector desires ballots to be mailed to the elector, the address to which those ballots shall be mailed;


(11) If the elector desires ballots to be sent to the elector by facsimile machine, the telephone number to which they shall be so sent.


(B) Application to have absent voter's ballots mailed or sent by facsimile machine to a qualified elector who is a member of the organized militia called to active duty within the state and who will be unable to vote on election day on account of that active duty may be made by the spouse of the militia member or the father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandfather, grandmother, brother or sister of the whole blood or half blood, son, daughter, adopting parent, adopted child, stepparent, stepchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece of the militia member. The application shall be in writing upon a blank form furnished only by the director. The form of the application shall be prescribed by the secretary of state. The director shall furnish that blank form to any of the relatives specified in this division desiring to make the application, only upon the request of such a relative in person at the office of the board or upon the written request of such a relative mailed to the office of the board. The application, subscribed and sworn to by the applicant, shall contain all of the following:


(1) The full name of the elector for whom ballots are requested;


(2) A statement that such person is a qualified elector in the county;


(3) The address at which the elector is registered to vote;


(4) The elector's date of birth;


(5) One of the following:


(a) The elector's driver's license number;
(b) The last four digits of the elector's social security number;
(c) A copy of the elector's current and valid photo identification, a copy of a military identification that shows the elector's name and current address, or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document, other than a notice of an election mailed by a board of elections under section 3501.19 of the Revised Code or a notice of voter registration mailed by a board of elections under section 3503.19 of the Revised Code, that shows the name and address of the elector.


(6) A statement identifying the election for which absent voter's ballots are requested;


(7) A statement that the elector is a member of the organized militia serving on active duty within the state;


(8) If the request is for primary election ballots, the elector's party affiliation;


(9) A statement that the applicant bears a relationship to the elector as specified in division (B) of this section;


(10) The address to which ballots shall be mailed or telephone number to which ballots shall be sent by facsimile machine;


(11) The signature and address of the person making the application.


(C) Applications to have absent voter's ballots mailed or sent by facsimile machine shall not be valid if dated, postmarked, or received by the director prior to the ninetieth day before the day of the election for which ballots are requested or if delivered to the director later than twelve noon of the third day preceding the day of such election. If, after the ninetieth day and before four p.m. of the day before the day of an election, a valid application for absent voter's ballots is delivered to the director of elections at the office of the board by a militia member making application in the militia member's own behalf, the director shall forthwith deliver to the militia member all absent voter's ballots then ready for use, together with an identification envelope. The militia member shall then vote the absent voter's ballots in the manner provided in section 3509.05 of the Revised Code.

§ 3511.03. Form of ballots (For Armed Services Absentee Ballots).

The board of elections of each county shall provide armed service absent voter's ballots for use at each election. Such ballots for general or primary elections shall be prescribed on the sixtieth day before the day of such elections and shall be the same as provided for absent voters in section 3509.01 of the Revised Code.