COLUMBUS – Ohio’s county boards of elections began distributing ballots last week to active duty military and overseas voters, officially opening the November 7 general election.
The deadline for Ohioans to register to vote is October 10 and early voting begins October 11. “I would like to thank all of the servicemen and servicewomen who are defending our interests overseas.
Despite serving our nation on foreign soil, they remain highly engaged in our elections, and beginning today they will be exercising the very rights they defend and impacting the communities they’ll return to,” said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
“We pray for their safe return and we are proud that they remain engaged in our democratic process.”
“Friends and families of Ohioans who are also serving or working abroad, it’s time for you to cast a ballot. Visit MilitaryVotes.Ohio.Gov.”
Ohio voters will find two issues on their ballot this election. State Issue 1 is the right to make reproductive decisions including abortion initiative. State Issue 2 is the marijuana legalization initiative.
Recognizing the complexities of voting from overseas, both state and federal law protect the right and ability for uniformed services and overseas U.S. citizens to vote by providing additional and adequate time for them to apply for and cast an absentee ballot.
Ballots may be requested by mail, email, or fax, but the voted ballot must be submitted by mail or in person, like any other absentee ballot.
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) and the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act are federal laws ensuring this right in federal elections, while the Ohio General Assembly has incorporated those federal protections into the Ohio Revised Code and extended them to state and local elections.
Due to Ohio’s cutting-edge cybersecurity efforts to protect our election integrity, users in some countries or unsecured locations (i.e. public WiFi, internet cafes) may not be able to immediately access their county or state website.
If that occurs, voters are encouraged to visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website at FVAP.gov or call the Ohio Secretary of State’s office at 614-466-2585.
The Federal Voting Assistance Program is affiliated with the U.S. Department of Defense and ensures all service members, their eligible family members, and overseas citizens have the tools and resources to exercise their right to vote.
UOCAVA ballots may be returned by U.S. Postal Service, APO/FPO System, diplomatic pouch or another delivery service such as UPS or FedEx, or in person.
An absentee ballot delivered in person must arrive at the board office by the close of polls on Election Day.
Absentee ballots returned by mail must be submitted for mailing by 12:01 a.m. on Election Day and must arrive at the board of elections office within four days after the election.
As always, all necessary voting information is available online at the Ohio Secretary of State’s Voter Toolkit, VoteOhio.gov.
Once there, Ohio voters can download the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), check their voter registration status, find their polling location, view their sample ballot and track the status of their absentee ballot.