This topic is monitored by Moritz Law Professor Daniel Tokaji
What Are the Requirements to Vote Absentee in Ohio?
Assistant Professor of Law
Associate Director, Election Law@Moritz
Moritz Class of 2008
In 2005, the Ohio legislature enacted Substitute House Bill 234, which significantly altered the rules for voting by absentee ballot. Specifically, the state adopted “no fault” absentee voting, under which voters may cast ballots by mail, whether or not they have an excuse for not going to the polls. These requirements were slightly revised by Substitute House Bill 3 passed in early 2006.
Here’s how the new procedure works. Any U.S. citizen who is a resident of Ohio at least 30 days in advance of an election can register to vote in the election by absentee ballot, by making a written request to the director of elections of the county in which they reside. The application must include all of the following:
- The voter’s name
- The voter’s signature
- The voter’s address of registration
- The voter’s date of birth
- One of the following forms of identification:
- Driver’s license number
- Last four digits of social security number (SSN)
- A copy of
- a current, valid photo ID,
- a military ID with the voter's name and current address, or
- a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document (other than an election notice from the board of elections) displaying the name and address of the voter
- Statement identifying the election (e.g., general or primary) for which the absent ballot is requested
- Statement that applicant is a qualified voter
- If a primary election, the voter’s party affiliation
- Mailing address if the applicant wishes for the ballots to be mailed
Ohio law no longer requires that voters meet specific requirements -- such as age or disability -- to vote by absentee ballot.
To request an absentee ballot, residents can either visit or write their county board of elections. All applications must be received no later than noon on the third day before the election. The Board of Elections should send an absentee ballot to all voters who properly request one.
Once the voter receives the absentee ballot, he or she should fill it out and return it in the identification envelope provided. There will be a space on that envelope for voters to include the last four digits of their Social Security number or their driver’s license number. Voters who don’t have one of those numbers should include a copy of one of the following: a current photo ID; a military ID with the voter's name and current address; or a utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document (other than an election notice) showing the voter’s name and address.
These new rules are effective in 2006.
Updated August 11, 2006