How Much Does It Cost To Mail An Ohio Absentee Ballot?

An envelope reading "official election mail."
The weight of the ballot affects the cost of return postage. [Svanblar/Shutterstock]

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From now through Election Day, ideastream is answering your questions about voting. Mike emailed us to ask about the cost of postage for mail-in ballots.

Ohioans are responsible for covering postage when they return their ballots ahead of the Nov. 2 deadline, but the cost is low for most voters. And for those dropping ballots off at the Board of Elections directly, no postage is required, according to Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office.

The number of stamps varies depending on the size of the ballot, a spokesperson for LaRose told ideastream in an email, and counties are responsible for providing instruction on postage requirements. 

In Lorain County, election officials are mailing information about how to determine postage alongside the ballots. Absentee ballot packages will include the required postage amounts, said BOE Director Paul Adams, which can change within the county.

“There are some parts of Lorain County where all the candidates and issues fit on one ballot page, there are other parts of the county where it requires two pages to do that,” Adams said.

A one-page ballot will require $0.55 in postage, Adams said, while a two-page ballot will require $0.70.

In Lake County, ballots typically cost one stamp to mail back, according to Board of Elections Director Ross McDonald. But smaller cities with more issues to cover could need more, he said.

“We only have so much room on the ballot,” McDonald said. “If a small charter city has a bunch of charter amendments, that would add to the overall length of their ballot.”

A longer ballot won’t need more than two stamps, McDonald said.

He added, the cost of return postage does not change based on the distance a ballot is mailed.

Greene County has a notification on its website that all ballots will cost $0.70 to mail this year. A board staffer said ballots countywide will be two pages, requiring the additional postage.

Last month, the Ohio Controlling Board rejected the secretary of state’s request for his office to cover the cost of postage for all mail-in votes.

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