Note: Technically, there is no such thing as “Early Voting.” What this term has come to mean is the ability of the voter to cast his/her vote before Election Day IN PERSON at their local Board of Elections. By definition, this is still considered absentee voting, as you are required to fill out an "Application for Absentee Voter Ballot" (Form 11-A) before voting. You can do this at the same time you vote in person.
When does absentee voting begin and end?
Absentee voting begins THE DAY AFTER THE CLOSE OF REGISTRATION for any given election. (This is typically 29 days before the election, but could possibly be 28 days if a holiday pushes back the voter registration deadline).
Once absentee ballots are available for voting, any voter may receive and return an absentee ballot in person at the county Board of Elections office, or receive and return the absentee ballot by U.S. Mail. Absentee ballots must either be postmarked by the day before the election, or delivered in person to the Board of Elections by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
Who is eligible to vote by absentee ballot?
Any qualified Ohio voter may request and vote an absentee ballot without stating a reason.
What is the application process for obtaining an absentee ballot?
Ohio law provides separate application processes for different classifications of absentee voters (militia, armed services, overseas, etc.). In all cases, absentee ballots must be applied for in writing. If you are properly registered to vote, you must submit your written request to the Board of Elections of the county in which your voting residence is located. Your request must contain certain information and your original signature. You may, but are not required to, use an application form prescribed by the Ohio Secretary of State.
Note: Please read all instructions carefully, print the form (the form is an Adobe PDF file), complete and sign it and mail to:
Wayne County Board of Elections
200 Vanover St. Suite 1
Wooster, OH 44691-4849
If you are not an active duty member of Ohio’s organized militia (including the Ohio Air National Guard, Ohio Army National Guard, Ohio Naval Militia, and Ohio Military Reserve), an active duty member of the U.S. armed services serving outside of Ohio, or a U.S. citizen residing outside of the U.S., you are considered a “regular” absentee voter for the purpose of this guide.
Absentee Voting Deadlines
To receive your absentee ballot:
- In person: You may go to the Board of Elections office of the county in which your voting residence is located during regular business hours after absentee ballots are available for voting, and request, receive and vote your ballot at the Board office.
- By mail: You may mail your properly completed absentee ballot application bearing your original 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 a member of the U.S. armed forces or an organized state militia, 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.
For your absentee ballot to be counted, it must be received as follows:
- If cast from anywhere in the U.S. and you return it by mail, it must be postmarked (the day before the election) and received by the Board of Elections no later than 10 days after the election. If you return it in person or if a near relative delivers it to the Board for you, it must be delivered to the Board of Elections no later than the close of polls on Election Day.
- If you are a voter outside the U.S. on Election Day, your ballot envelope must be signed and postmarked by the close of polls on Election Day and received by your county Board of Elections not later than the 20th day after the presidential primary election or by the 10th day after a special or general election.
- If returned in-person to the Board of Elections, absentee ballots must be received at your local county Board of Elections on Election Day by 7:30 p.m. (the close of the polls).
For more information about Absentee Voting, including other types of Absentee Ballot Forms, visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.
For more information about how the United States Postal Service (USPS) handles Election Mail, please visit their Election Mail page.