Mailing in your Election Day ballot? Watch your postage

Area elections boards are seeing one of the largest midterm turnouts ever of absentee voters, and officials have a last bit of advice for those voting by mail: Check your postage because more than one stamp might be required, depending on a ballot’s bulk.

In Montgomery County, ballot postage is 71 cents, said Jan Kelly, the Board of Elections director.

“Each county has their own postage amount. It depends … If it’s a two- or three-page or one-page (ballot) and if it’s 11 inches or 18,” she said.

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Kelly said before ballots are mailed to voters, they are weighed by multiple postal employees to determine postage. The amount, which can vary by county, is then printed on the ballot instructions sent to voters.

“We don’t pay for mail to be returned to us free,” Kelly said. “You have to pay for what is returned.”

Greene County residents voting by mail are also instructed to affix 71 cents in postage to their ballots, said Llyn McCoy, Greene County Board of Elections director.

More than a million Ohioans have already voted early or requested a mail-in ballot for the Nov. 6 election, according to the Ohio Secretary of State.

“We are getting back trays and trays of ballots every day,” McCoy said.

During the last midterm, just shy of 12,000 Greene County voters requested absentee ballots. As of Tuesday, the office had 16,353 requests, with more than 3,000 already casting votes in person, McCoy said.

“So we are well ahead of 2014,” she said. “I just think there’s more enthusiasm. There’s no incumbent in the governor’s office, so that always drives people. There’s some school issues out and about, but I really think it’s the candidates this time.”

MORE: Paper ballots likely to replace touchscreen voting for many area voters

Miami County voters can get by with a single Forever Stamp, or 50 cents, said Beverly Kendall, the elections board director.

“We have the same type ballots throughout the county, and it’s just one page,” she said.

Completed ballots can also be dropped off at the proper county elections board office.

Kendall said another important step in completing a mail-in ballot is to provide the proper information on the identification envelope. If a voter fails to include the envelope or it’s missing a birth date, driver’s license number or the requested Social Security digits, a ballot could be delayed, she said.

“We have to send a state-prescribed form back to the voter so that they can get a chance to fix it so we can count their ballot,” Kendall said.

During 2014, about 30,000 Miami County residents altogether voted. As of Tuesday afternoon, just more than 9,000 had requested absentee ballots, Kendall said.

“We are already a third of the way there, and we still have two weeks,” she said.

Early voting numbers are up about 15 percent in Montgomery County, Kelly said.

As of Tuesday, 43,605 absentee ballots in Montgomery County had been requested — about a third already mailed back, she said.

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Kelly said if a voter makes a mistake on their ballot, they can call and request another, but they need to do it pronto.

The deadline by law for requesting an absentee ballot is noon Saturday before the election, but “in all likelihood you’re not going to get your ballot in time to vote. So request it earlier than that,” Kelly said.

Kelly said she continually hears a fiction repeated by voters that absentee ballots don’t get counted. She wants to dispel that myth.

“Yes, they are the first ones counted on election night. We don’t save them and count them only if a race is close,” she said. “We count all absentee ballots that are countable.”

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