Uniformed Services and Overseas Citizen Voting

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. Boards of Elections begin issuing UOCAVA ballots (for which a valid application was received) 46 days prior to Election Day.

 

Requesting an Absentee UOCAVA Ballot:

Beginning January 1 or 90 days before an election, whichever is earlier, qualified electors who are members of the uniformed services, citizens residing overseas, and their dependents may apply for an absentee ballot in any of the following ways:

  • You may use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). The FPCA may be used both to register to vote and to request absentee ballots. These requests are valid for all elections in the calendar year they are received.
  • You also may request an absentee ballot using the absentee ballot application prescribed by the Ohio Secretary of State at VoteOhio.gov. If using this application, you must submit a new request for each election you wish to vote in.
  • If you already are a registered Ohio voter, an eligible relative may request an absentee ballot on your behalf using the Ohio Secretary of State Form Application by Relative for Uniformed Services or Overseas Absent Voter’s Ballot. If using this application, you must submit a new request for each election you wish to vote in.

 

Receiving an Absentee UOCAVA Ballot:

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

  • By mail: 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 7th day prior to 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. Your marked ballot must be returned by mail.
  • By fax: You may fax 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 7th day prior to 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: Your properly-completed absentee ballot application, bearing your signature, 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 7th day prior to the election. You may request that the board e-mail your ballot to you, but you must return your marked ballot by mail.
  • 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.

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

If you have requested an absentee ballot by noon on the 7th day prior to 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 4th day after Election Day, the board of elections will only count the absentee ballot. Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot links for the current election are provided below.

 

Returning Your Voted UOCAVA Ballot:

Your voted ballot must be returned by mail, regardless of how you received it. If you received your balloting materials via email or fax, be sure to complete the Absentee Ballot Identification Envelope page included in your packet and return it with your ballot. You can print a copy of the first page of the Return Envelope which accompanied your balloting materials securely affix it to a return envelope. When using the Return Envelope page, as long as you are mailing it back using in the U.S. Postal Service, APO/FPO system or diplomatic pouch, you do not need to affix additional postage. If using International airmail, postage is required. In order for your ballot to be counted, the ballot must be submitted for mailing by the close of polls on Election Day and the voted ballot must be received by the county Board of Elections by the fourth day after Election Day.

 

46 Day Notice for the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot for the March 19, 2024 Presidential Primary

100 Day Notice for the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot for the March 19, 2024 Presidential Primary