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Ohio Voters Receiving Absentee Ballot Applications From Outside Groups

An absentee ballot application from the state of Ohio.
Darrin McDonald
An absentee ballot application from the state of Ohio.

Perhaps you’ve received an unsolicited absentee ballot application form in your mail. It's possible the application is legitimate but from an unfamiliar group, and filling it out incorrectly could delay getting your ballot on time.

Wooster-area resident Marilynn Rowdybush recently got an absentee ballot request form from a Washington D.C. group called Center for Voter Information.

“It looked like it was legitimate, but when I went to fill it out, it didn’t fit into the envelope, and it just struck me as being a little strange," Rowdybush says.

Rowdybush took it to the Wayne County Board of Elections and found the form was legitimate, but was told she and others had omitted important information. Because of that, it could take longer to receive her actual ballot.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose says the state will mail out its own ballot request forms around Labor Day. But unlike some of the forms being circulated by outside groups, the ones from the state won't have pre-paid postage for voters to mail them back.

LaRose is hoping to get the Ohio Controlling Board to allow him to pay for postage on the actual ballots from a fund in his office that is designated for a different purpose.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot in Ohio is October 31, and ballots must be postmarked by November 2. But election officials and voting rights groups strongly suggest voters to start the process as early as possible.

Absentee voting applications and ballots can also be dropped off in-person at a secure ballot drop box, which is located at each county's Board of Elections.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.