Deadline quickly nears for submitting Ohio absentee ballots

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More than a quarter of Cuyahoga County absentee ballots not yet returned

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– As early voting continues, local election officials are reminding voters to submit absentee ballots as soon as possible to ensure they are counted.

Ohioans who have requested an absentee ballot, but want to vote in-person on Election Day will have to cast a provisional ballot.

Saturday marks the official deadline to submit an application to vote-by-mail in the state, but Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director Tony Perlatti said the deadline is essentially right now to ensure your ballot is received and submitted in time.

“You’re cutting it very close to the deadline,” Perlatti said.

The Cuyahoga County BOE reported nearly 340,000 vote-by-mail applications have been processed for Tuesday’s election. More than a quarter of those requested, 90,000 ballots, have not yet been returned.

“If you are one of those voters, we’re again asking you to return that as soon as possible to us,” Cuyahoga County BOE Deputy Director Shantiel Soeder said. “If you do not return your absentee ballot and you go to the polls on Election Day, what will happen is that you will be asked to cast a provisional ballot.”

Voters who requested an absentee ballot, but don’t plan to return it can only cast a regular ballot by voting early in-person at their local board of elections office through Monday.

That’s what Willette Pineiro did Wednesday.

“I sent out for my absentee ballot. I didn’t receive it on time, so I wanted to make sure that I was able to cast my vote,” she said. “This is a very important election and I wanted to make sure my vote counted.”

Election officials said voters cannot deliver an absentee ballot to their local polling location. It must either be mailed and postmarked by Monday or delivered to a local board of elections office by Election Day, which is Nov. 3.

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