COLUMBUS — Absentee ballot applications for November’s General Election will be mailed later this month to Ohio voters and start arriving in mailboxes around Labor Day, according to the office of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Hustead.
By completing the required information and returning the application to their county board of elections, voters can have their ballots mailed to them, giving them up to four weeks to cast a ballot without ever leaving home.
“Many of our surrounding states give voters one day – Election Day – to vote. This fall, from the comfort of their own homes, every Ohioan will have 24 hours a day, seven days a week to cast their ballot,” Husted said. “Our successful vote-by-mail program represents one of the many ways we have made it easy to vote and hard to cheat in Ohio.”
The statewide mailing will go out in two installments:
• The first, which will go out to more than six million people, will cover active voters, as well as any voter who cast a ballot in the 2010 or 2012 statewide elections, even if they haven’t participated since. The voter must have had a current address on file with the board of elections as of August 1st of this year.
· The second mailing will be sent in early October to include those who register to vote or update their voting information after Aug. 1.
This year’s statewide mailing marks only the second time since Ohio’s absentee voting law was adopted in 2006 that all eligible voters with a current address will receive an application to vote by mail.
The first mailing was sent out prior to the 2012 Presidential election. That year, a record-setting 1.87 million voters (1.26 million by mail, 600,500 in person) ultimately cast a ballot prior to Election Day, representing one out of three ballots cast in Ohio that year.
Voters who have moved can update their voter registration using the online change of address system at www.MyOhioVote.com.
For security reasons, applications will be personalized to each registered voter at the voting address they have on file. Voters must complete the forms by providing valid identification (either their driver’s license number or the last four digits of their Social Security number or by returning a copy of a qualifying form of identification), their date of birth and signature before returning the ballot request form to their county board of elections in the return envelope provided.
To vote by mail, voters must complete and mail or drop off their applications to their local boards of elections no later than noon on Saturday, Nov. 1. The application provided in the mailing may also be dropped off at the voter’s board of elections to vote early in person from the start of absentee voting through the Monday before the election. If they change their mind and go to the polls after having requested an absentee ballot, they will have to vote provisionally.
The estimated cost for the mailing is $1 million and will be paid for using funds provided for through the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). In 2012, the total cost for the statewide mailing was $1.4 million.
For more information about the 2014 election, visit www.MyOhioVote.com.