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Military and Overseas Voters

Process to apply for a uniformed services absentee ballot

Qualified electors who are members of the uniformed services or residing overseas may apply for an absentee ballot in any of the following ways:

  1. You may use the current Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), available online at www.fvap.gov.  The FPCA may be used both to register to vote and to request absentee ballots.
  2. You also may request an absentee ballot using a form prescribed by the Ohio Secretary of State (Form 11-A, if you will be in Ohio during the absentee period; otherwise, use an FPCA).
  3. If you already are a registered Ohio voter, you may designate an eligible relative to request an absentee ballot on your behalf, like using the Secretary of State prescribed Form 11-E or the FPCA.

Prescribed Forms

How to receive an absentee ballot

If you are an individual eligible to vote under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), you may ask to receive your ballot in any one of the following ways:

  1. By mail: Beginning January 1 or 90 days before an election, whichever is earlier, you may mail your properly -completed absentee ballot application, bearing your signature, to the board of elections of the county in which your voting residence is located. The board must receive your request by noon on the Saturday before the election. However, you should submit your request as far in advance of the election as possible to ensure there is sufficient time for the board to mail, fax, or e-mail you a ballot. Your marked ballot must be returned by mail.
  2. By fax: You may fax your absentee ballot request to the board of elections of the county in which your voting residence is located. The board must receive your request by noon on the Saturday before the election. You may request that the board fax, mail, or e-mail your ballot to you, but you must return your marked ballot by mail.
  3. By e-mail: Your completed and signed absentee ballot request form may be e-mailed to the board of elections office in the county in which you are registered to vote. The board must receive your request by noon on the Saturday before the election. You may request that the board fax, mail, or e-mail your ballot to you, but you must return your marked ballot by mail.
  4. In person: Once absentee ballots are available, you may go to your county board of elections office or other site designated by the board of elections to cast your ballot in person.  If you are a UOCAVA voter voting in person on the day before an election or on Election Day, you may vote in person at the office of your county board of elections only. An application delivered in person to the board of elections office must be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

When the board of elections issues your ballot, it will provide you with information on how to track the status of your ballot in the Centralized Ballot Tracking System.

If you have requested an absentee ballot by noon on the Saturday before the election, but have not received it, you may use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot. If you receive your absentee ballot after submitting the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot, you may vote it and return it via mail or in person. If both the absentee ballot and the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot are received by the 10th day after Election Day, the board of elections will only count the absentee ballot.

Absentee Ballot Deadlines

Requesting a ballot

  • In person: After absentee ballots are available for voting, a Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) voter may go to his or her county board of elections office or other designated location during regular business hours until the close of polls on Election Day and cast a ballot at the board office or other designated in-person voting location. Please note that if you are a UOCAVA voter voting in-person on the day before Election Day or on Election Day, you may vote only at the office of your county board of elections.
     
  • By mail: Beginning January 1 of any year, or 90 days before the date of an election, whichever is earlier, you may mail your properly-completed absentee ballot application bearing your signature to the board of elections of the county in which your voting residence is located. The board must receive your request by noon on the Saturday before the election. However, you should submit your request as far in advance of the election as possible to ensure there is sufficient time for the board to mail you a ballot and for you to timely return that ballot.
     
  • By fax: If you are an individual eligible to vote under UOCAVA, you may fax your absentee ballot request to the board of elections of the county in which your voting residence is located. The board must receive your request by noon on the Saturday before the election. You may request that the board fax your ballot to you, but you must return your marked ballot by mail.
     
  • By e-mail: If you are an individual eligible to vote under the UOCAVA, you may e-mail your absentee ballot request to the board of elections of the county in which your voting residence is located. The board must receive your request by noon on the Saturday before the election. You may request that the board e-mail your ballot to you, but you must return your marked ballot by mail.

UOCAVA ballots may be returned:

  1. By U.S. Mail: The return envelope containing your marked ballot must be submitted for mailing no later than 12:01 a.m. on Election Day and received by the board of elections no later than 10 days after the election.
  2. In person, either by you or an eligible family member: Your marked ballot, which must be sealed in the completed and signed identification envelope provided with the ballot, must be delivered to the board of elections office no later than 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

    (Note: Voted ballots may be returned by mail only. If a voted ballot is returned by fax or e-mail, it may not be accepted, processed, or counted.)

Frequently Asked Questions: UOCAVA

Both federal and state laws govern absentee voting by uniformed services and overseas United States citizens. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act are federal laws enacted to protect the rights of United States citizens to vote in federal elections while they are serving in the uniformed services or residing overseas. The Ohio General Assembly has incorporated those federal protections into the Ohio Revised Code and has extended them to state and local elections.

Must uniformed services and overseas absentee voters be registered to vote?

Yes.

Who qualifies as an overseas voter?

A U.S. citizen living outside the U.S. is eligible to vote in the Ohio precinct in which the voter resided immediately before leaving the U.S. if the voter was, or could have been registered to vote in Ohio while residing there, or currently is eligible under Ohio law to vote in Ohio.

A U.S. citizen who was born outside the U.S. is deemed to have a voting residence in Ohio at the place in the Ohio precinct where the person's parent or guardian continuously resided for at least 30 days immediately before leaving the United States.

Who qualifies as a uniformed services voter?

If you are serving on active duty in the uniformed services (U.S. Armed Services, merchant marines, and the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States, the national guard and organized militia) and meet the requirements for voting at your Ohio voting residence, you may vote a uniformed services absentee ballot. Your spouse and dependents may vote a uniformed services absentee ballot if they left their Ohio voting residence to be with or near you.

The voting residence of a service member is the place in Ohio where the service member resided for at least 30 days immediately preceding the commencement of his or her service.