Absentee signs

These instructions are taped to the door of the Athens County Board of Elections office on South Court Street in Athens.

In today's physical edition of The Athens NEWS, you can find a fully usable request form for an absentee ballot to encourage people to vote during Ohio’s extended time period for mail-in voting due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. You can also find a digital copy here.

The deadline for Ohio’s primary is fast approaching, on Tuesday, April 28. The final date that people can send in an absentee ballot request form is three days before the election (Saturday, April 25), and the absentee ballot itself must be postmarked by the day before the election in order to be counted (Monday, April 27).

People can drop off their absentee ballots in person, but they cannot go inside the Athens County Board of Elections offices. In order to drop off your ballot, go to the back of the Board of Elections building (Courthouse Annex) in uptown Athens and use the drop-box located there. Here’s how to find that box, according to the BOE website: “You may access the ballot drop box from Court Street, by turning left between Mountain Laurel Gift Store and Hocking Valley Bank, then turn right into the Annex Parking Lot. The ballot box is located near the rear entrance of the Court House Annex Building.”

Debbie Quivey, director of the county Board of Elections, said last week that the main thing people are forgetting to do with their absentee ballot request forms is to list the party ballot they want. For the 2020 primary, the choices are Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Issues Only. You also must ensure the “date of election” lists the date of the election, April 28.

Here’s a general run-down of how voting-by-mail works.

• Tear off the absentee ballot request form on page 9; or print out the request yourself; or call the Athens County Board of Elections to request a copy of the absentee ballot request form (740-592-3201).

• Mail the request form to the Athens County Board of Elections, or drop it off at the box mentioned above. As mentioned above, the board is NOT accepting in-person requests for ballot forms. The Board of Elections’ address is the Athens County Board of Elections, 15 S. Court St., #130, Athens, OH 45701.

• The Board of Elections will then mail you back the actual absentee ballot. Fill it out and mail it back to the Board of Elections, or drop it off in the BOE’s drop-off box as described above.

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