Ohio Primary Update: What You Need to Know

On March 25, both houses of the Ohio General Assembly passed legislation to address the COVID-19 pandemic.  Among several things this legislation did, it extended the availability of absentee ballots by mail for the March 17th primary until April 28th, not June 2nd as Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose recommended. REPEATOhio’s primary does not end on June 2nd, but April 28th instead. The legislation did not authorize the mailing of absentee ballot applications to all registered voters, so that will not happen.  Instead, voters will get a postcard explaining how to request an absentee ballot and how the vote by mail process works.  There will be no in-person voting at the polls or another period of early in-person voting at the Board of Elections.

If you already voted early in the primary either in mail or in-person at the Board of Elections, your ballot will be counted and need to do nothing further.

Step 1: Request an absentee ballot now

You may download an absentee ballot application directly from the Butler County Board of Elections here. If you do not have access to a printer, you may call the Butler County Board of Elections at (513) 887-3700 and they will mail you an absentee ballot application to you. 

When you fill out the application, you must include:

  • Your name
  • The address where you are registered to vote
  • The address where you want your ballot mailed (only if different from the address where you are registered to vote)
  • Your date of birth
  • Either the last four digits of your Social Security Number or your full Ohio drivers license number (two letters and six numbers)
  • Indicate the name of the political party whose primary you wish to vote in (Democratic)
  • Your written cursive signature

Don’t worry about what date you list for the election on the absentee ballot application.  Whether you put March 17th, April 28th, or even June 2nd, it will be accepted.

UPDATE: absentee ballot applications are also available at Kroger locations in Butler County. See full list

You can either mail this application back to the Butler County Board of Elections (1802 Princeton Road, Suite 600, Hamilton, OH 45011) or leave it in the secured and monitored drop box outside of the Board of Election’s front curb to its office building.  The deadline to return an absentee ballot application will be Saturday, April 25th at noon.  However, practically speaking, you will need to deliver your absentee ballot application earlier that week to have enough to receive your ballot from the Board of Elections and return it in time. Beat the rush and get your absentee application to vote by mail in ASAP.  This will give you sufficient time to receive and cast your ballot.

Step 2: Complete and return your ballot

You will receive a paper ballot where you will make your selection by filling in an oval by the name of the candidate with either a black or blue ink pen.  Do NOT use a #2 pencil. When completed, fold the ballot into the supplied identification envelope.  Again, for your ballot by mail to be valid, you must provide the following information on the identification envelope:

  • Your date of birth
  • Either the last four digits of your Social Security Number or your full Ohio drivers license number (two letters and six numbers)
  • Your written signature

For your protection, please seal the identification envelope and the self-addressed return envelope with either a glue stick or a damp sponge or clean cloth. If you mail your ballot back, it must be postmarked no later than April 27th. Otherwise, you must deliver it to the Board of Elections no later than 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday April 28th.  You may deposit your ballot secured in the identification envelope in the drop box outside near the front curb of the Butler County Board of Elections. Postage for the return envelope to mail your ballot will be pre-paid, so there will be no expense for you to return your ballot.

Step 3: Track your ballot

The Butler County Board of Elections will allow you to track your absentee ballot via its website. You may also use this tool to see a sample ballot for your precinct before you vote.

If you are registered to vote in Ohio but failed to update your address in time, you may cast a provisional ballot via mail.  If you have a physical disability that makes voting by mail impractical, please call the Butler County Board of Elections so it may inform you of your options.  Those voters needing to use a ballot marker device, for example, may appear at the Board of Elections from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. on April 28th to cast their ballot.