Voters who want to cast a ballot in Ohio’s primary election but want to avoid the polls on Election Day still have time to fill out an absentee ballot.
Gov. Mike DeWine issued an order Thursday banning gatherings of 100 or more people as the state tries to get control of a spreading COVID-19 outbreak, but it does not apply to voting on Election Day.
If you’re uneasy about going to the polls, though, you can request an absentee ballot. Just act quick.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is noon Saturday, and voters must get their ballots postmarked by Monday, the day before the election.
Absentee ballot requests are done almost exclusively through the mail or in person, leaving little time for those who haven’t already requested one. Voters who are in the county where they are registered this week still can vote in person at early voting centers as well.
Here’s how to request an absentee ballot:
• Fill out the absentee ballot request form. The form can be downloaded from the Ohio secretary of state’s website or requested from the county board of elections where the voter is registered.
• Mail the signed request form to the county board of elections where the voter is registered.
• Wait to receive an absentee ballot in the mail.
• Return your voted ballot by U.S. mail or by delivering it in person to the county board of elections. Absentee ballots cannot be returned to the precinct polling location where you would vote.
Mailed ballots must be postmarked by the day before the election (Monday) and received by the county board of elections no later than 10 days after the election. Ballots returned in person can be dropped off at each county’s voting center (NOT polling places) until polls close at 7:30 p.m. Election Day.
The U.S. Postal Service estimates that it could take two to five days for ballots to be delivered to the board of elections, according to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office. LaRose’s office recommends taking ballots to the U.S. Postal Service to ensure that it receives a postmark.
More detailed information about absentee voting in Ohio is available at LaRose’s website.
Voters still have time to vote in person at early voting centers in the county where they are registered as well.