How to Vote by Mail (VBM) in the 2020 General Election

How to Vote by Mail (VBM) in the 2020 General Election

Request VBM today
Blog Post

2020 General election dates:

  • October 5 – Voter registration deadline for the November 2020 election
  • November 3 - General Election

Voting by mail in Ohio is a two-step process:

  • STEP ONE:  Apply for a Vote-By-Mail (VBM) ballot
  • STEP TWO:  Complete and return your ballot

STEP ONE: Apply for a ballot using a VBM application form:

It is not too early to apply for your VBM ballot!!!

Because of the pandemic, many voters will vote by mail and the board of elections will likely be inundated with VBM requests. The earlier they receive those requests, the smoother the process.

Get a VBM application form: 

Follow instructions on the VBM application form carefully. Enter all required information (highlighted in yellow on Cuyahoga County Board of Elections form). AVOID THESE COMMON MISTAKES on the application form:

  • Entering today's date on the line for the voter's birth date and vice versa
  • Entering a wrong addresses: Your voter registration address is where you live (no P. O. boxes); A mailing address is where you want the ballot to be sent such as college address or other temporary address (can be a P.O. Box)
  • Not indicating the election date
  • Forgeting your signature

Phone number and email address are not required, but recommended so that the board of elections can contact you if there are problems or errors in your application.

Return completed application form to the board of elections by mail or in-person to the board of elections drop box. Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is at 2925 Euclid Ave, Cleveland (corner of Euclid Ave. and 30th) and has a drop off box in the parking lot.

The board of elections will begin mailing ballots after October 6.

STEP TWO: Complete and mail in your ballot. 

Follow instructions enclosed with your ballot carefully.

Research items on your ballot using,,, candidate and issue campaign websites, and candidate forums.

Return your completed ballot by mail or in person to the board of elections drop off box. Ballots must be received no later than 7:30 p.m. on Election Day (November 3) or, if mailed, be postmarked by the day before the election (November 2).

Track My Ballot - check the status of both your VBM application and ballot with this link on the board of elections website.

No postage paid. Despite lobbying efforts by the League of Women Voters and other voting rights organizations, return of the VBM application or your completed ballot is not postage paid. Voters will have to apply stamps or deliver these documents in person to the board of elections.

If VBM does not work for you

Should Election Day come and your ballot has not, or if you mailed your ballot, but it was not received by the board of elections, you can still vote in-person at your polling place, using a provisional ballot. While a nuisance, this is still better than not voting at all.

Go to these official websites for more information:  

Ohio Secretary of State
Cuyahoga County Board of Elections 


Vote by mail videos


The video below was created for the spring primary election, but is still a useful demostration showing you what to expect on the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections website.

Issues referenced by this article: 
League to which this content belongs: 
Greater Cleveland