Planning to vote by mail before the Tuesday, Nov. 3 election in Ottawa County? The correct way to vote by mail is to follow the instructions of the Ohio Secretary of State, said Director Carol Ann Hill of the Ottawa County Board of Elections.
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has also been mailing out absentee ballot applications to every registered voter in Ohio in recent days. If you have not received an absentee ballot application from the state, be sure you are registered to vote.
All Ohio voters have the opportunity to vote in the Nov. 3 general election from the convenience of their own homes by requesting an absentee ballot beginning 90 days before the date of an election, said Hill. Here’s the correct way to make sure your vote counts if voting absentee by mail.
Your request must be received by the county election office by noon the third day before the election (usually a Saturday). 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.
The Ottawa County Board of Elections will begin sending out the requested absentee ballots Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Steps to request and vote an absentee ballot:
- Print out and complete the absentee ballot request on the Ottawa County Board of Elections web site, or the request sent to every registered voter in Ohio. Send only one request.
- Once you have completed your application by providing your name, address, date of birth, form of identification and address to which your ballot should be mailed, sign and submit to the Board of Elections office. Qualifying forms of identification include writing on the application your driver’s license number (which begins with two alphabet letters followed by six numbers) OR the last four digits of your Social Security number OR by making a photocopy (to enclose with your application when mailed to the board of elections) of either your current and valid photo identification, military identification, or a current utility bill, bank statement, concealed carry card, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows your name and current address.
- Mail the application to Ottawa County Board of Elections, 8444 W. State Route 163, Suite 101, Oak Harbor, Ohio 43449-8885.
- Wait to receive your ballot in the mail. If you have questions about your absentee ballot request, call the board at 419-898-3071. If you requested your ballot more than 30 days before Election Day, your ballot will be mailed out on the day absentee voting starts in the Board of Elections office.
- Return your voted ballot. You can send it by U.S. mail or deliver it in person to the board office, where a drop box is available 24/7. The return envelope containing your marked ballot must either be received in their office prior to the close of the polls on Election Day, or postmarked no later than the day before the election and received by our office no later than 10 days after the election. You cannot fax or email a voted ballot.
Absentee voting questions? Call 419-898-3071 or toll free at 800-697-9807 (toll-free number can be used only when calling from within the county and on a regular telephone, not a cell phone).
If you’ve already submitted an absentee ballot application to the Ottawa County Board of Elections, you do not need to submit another one.
The ballots will be mailed out Oct. 6, which is the first day of early voting and the first day Boards of Elections are allowed to mail ballots.
Early absentee voting is at the Board of Elections office, 8444 W. SR 163 (by Riverview Nursing Home). Please wear a mask if possible, and three voters will be allowed in the board office at a time to observe social distancing.
Hours for early voting are: Oct. 6-9 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Oct. 12-16 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Oct. 19-23 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Oct. 24 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Oct. 25 from 1-5 p.m.; Oct. 26-30 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Oct. 31 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Nov. 1 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and Nov. 2 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
On Election Day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 3, vote at your assigned polling locations.