Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose is offering some clarity to voters who requested mail-in ballots but now want to vote in person instead.
LaRose’s office issued a directive to local election officials this week with guidance for handling in-person votes from Ohioans who already requested absentee ballots.
The full directive is available on the secretary of state’s website, but here are the basics of what you need to know:
If you’ve decided to vote in person rather than by mail, but you’ve already requested an absentee ballot, LaRose’s office says you can vote early in person with no trouble — emphasis on the early.
If you’ve already received an absentee ballot in the mail, your local board of elections will ask for it back and give you a new, regular ballot at the early in-person voting site. You’re not required to return the other ballot as a condition for getting a new one, however. And Ohio counts early ballots as they come in, so your vote will be processed ahead of Election Day.
It’s a different story if you’ve requested an absentee but show up to vote on Election Day. You’ll have to vote provisionally, meaning the ballot won’t be added to the count until after Nov. 3.
“The board of elections may count only one ballot per voter,” the directive says. “If the voter marks and returns more than one ballot, the board must count only the first ballot received. It is a felony to vote more than once in the same election.”
Boards begin mailing absentee ballots to those who have requested them on Oct. 6.