How to Vote by Mail (VBM) in Ohio 2020 Primary Election
Postponed from March 17 due to the Covid-19 pandemic
New primary dates:
- April 25 - Deadline for submitting a Vote By Mail (VBM) application
- April 27 - Postmark deadline for mailed ballot
- April 28 - In-person voting at the board of elections for selected populations*
ACT NOW if you have not yet voted
Do nothing if you voted before March 17, either by mail or early in-person voting. Your vote will be counted.
If you have not already voted, request a VBM application ASAP from your local board of elections. Cuyahoga County residents can call 216-443-8683 or print one from the board of elections website. Residents outside of Cuyahoga County should contact their local board of elections or go to the Ohio Secretary of State website.
Voting by mail is a two-step process:
- Step one: apply for a ballot using a VBM application form (see above).
- Follow the instructions on the VBM application form carefully. The form on the Secretary of State website looks different from the forms on the sites of local boards of elections, but they ask for the same information.
- Using the online form from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections website is preferred. Enter your name and birth date, click on "Search," scroll down, and click on "print form." Then select "2020 Primary Election Extended" from the drop down menu and click on your preferred language (see video below). A form with your name, address, and a barcode (for expediting processing) will come up. Print and finish completing the form.
- Be sure to enter all required information (highlighted in yellow on Cuyahoga County Board of Elections form).
- AVOID THESE COMMON MISTAKES made on the application form:
- Entering today's date in the line for the voter's birth date and vice versa.
- Confusing addresses - your voter registration address must be where you live (no P. O.boxes); mailing address is where you want the ballot to be sent - this can be a P.O. Box, college address, or other temporary address (e.g. for vacationers)
- Indicate the election date and check the box for voting in the primary.
- For a primary you must choose a party to vote in a party primary or request an issues-only ballot to opt out of party primaries.
- Don't forget your signature.
- Phone number and email are not required, but recommended so that you can be contacted if there are problems or errors in your application.
- Return your completed application form to the board of elections by mail or in-person to the drop box in the board of elections' parking lot. Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is at 2925 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115 - corner of Euclid Ave. and 30th.
- Step two: complete and mail in your ballot.
- Follow instructions enclosed with your ballot carefully.
- Return your completed ballot by mail (must be postmarked by April 27) or in person to the board of elections. Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has a drop box in its parking lot at 2925 Euclid Ave, Cleveland OH 44115 - corner of Euclid and 30th.
- Track My Ballot - check on the status of your ballot with this link.
Allow yourself time - act now!
The April 25 VBM application deadline is too late if the mail is slow or your application denied due to a mistake or unrecognized signature.
- Request and mail your VBM application NOW.
- Best to mail in your completed ballot at least one week before the election date, April 28, to avoid a trip to the post office to get a postmark or a trip to the board of elections building to drop off your ballot.
Other important information:
*Voters who are homeless or disabled and needing special accommodations may vote in-person on April 28 at their local board of elections’ building between 6:30 am to 7:30 pm.
The voter registration deadline has not changed. You must have been registered by February 18, 2020 to participate in the 2020 primary election.
If you do not have access to a printer or stamps, this will not be a problem for returning your ballot but can be a hurdle for VBM applications. For your VBM application, you can hand write the required information on a piece of paper and return that to the board of elections by mail or, without postage, hand deliver your VBM application to the board of elections. Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has a drop box in its parking lot at 2925 Euclid Ave, Cleveland OH 44115 - corner of Euclid and 30th.
If you have moved: In your vote-by-mail application, write your new correct address in the address line where it says “Address at which you are registered to vote." Because you are not registered at your current address, you will be mailed a provisional ballot. Complete the provisional ballot form with the required information. The board of elections will let you know what you need to do so that your vote will be counted.