As record numbers of Ohioans cast their votes with absentee ballots, Secretary of State Frank LaRose urges voters to check that enough postage is applied so that those ballots will arrive at election processing centers in time to be counted.
The postage needed for returning a ballot by mail can differ depending on the number of items on the ballot. The more items to vote for, the longer and heavier the ballot, which may require additional postage. County boards of elections are required specify how much postage is required to mail in an absentee ballot.
According to the United States Postal Service’s website, a first-class standard stamp is 60 cents. In the city of Columbus, absentee ballots instruct voters to include at least 84 cents’ worth of postage due to the size of the ballot. Postage requirements vary depending on voter location.
The Franklin County Board of Elections reminds voters that federal law requires proper postage on absentee ballots. However, the USPS must deliver these ballots even if they lack the appropriate postage. It is the policy of the postal service to not delay the delivery of mail-in ballots.
Every voter who requests absentee voting will get an insert along with their ballot containing instructions specifying how much postage they need for mailing the ballot.
According to the National Conference of State Legislature (NCSL) the USPS will bill the local election office for mail-in ballots with insufficient postage.
So far, 943,105 Ohioans have requested absentee ballots, up 2.7 percent from the same point in time as the 2018 election, according to LaRose’s office.
“This level of absentee ballot utilization for an election like this one is a strong indicator that Ohioans continue to have confidence in the security of our mail-in ballot system, and for good reason – there is no better system for security and convenience than ours,” LaRose said.
LaRose pushed to provide paid postage for Ohioans mailing in their absentee ballots back in 2020. However, the Ohio Controlling Board denied his request.
The secretary of state’s office urges voters that if they use a postage stamp to mail their ballot to ask that it be postmarked as all absentee ballots must be postmarked no later than the day before the election in order to be counted.
Voters can also take their absentee ballot directly to their poll as long as it’s received no later than 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Ballot Drop Box” by Cindy Shebley. CC BY 2.0.