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What Should You Do If Your Ballot May Have Been Lost In The Mail?

The Portage County Board of Elections recommends waiting up to 10 days after an absentee ballot is in the mail, then contacting your Board of Elections if it hasn't arrived. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
A US postal truck driving in the rain

In the lead up to next month’s election, ideastream is answering your questions about voting. Lacey from Columbus asked what happens if your ballot seems to have been lost in the mail.

According to Portage County Board of Elections Deputy Director Terry Nielsen, if a voter calls into the board to report a missing ballot, the board can mark an already mailed absentee ballot as void and send a new one.

“So if the first one comes back, it shows in our records that that ballot has been soiled or canceled, so we won’t count it. It doesn’t matter who it comes back from,” Nielsen said.

He recommends calling your county board of elections if a mailed ballot doesn’t arrive within 10 days of being sent out.

Boards have set up ballot tracking pages on their websites so voters can see when an absentee application is approved, when a ballot is sent and when it’s delivered.

Lacey also asked, since her ballot hasn't arrived, could she vote in person instead.

Any Ohio voter who has requested an absentee ballot can vote in person, rather than by mail. 

If they do it early in person, it will be counted along with early absentee ballots. If they vote on Election Day, it will be counted as a provisional ballot.

Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer focused on criminal justice issues at Ideastream Public Media.