PLAN YOUR VOTE: Special Situations and Transportation
October 28, 2020 by Ross Musick / voting
Sometimes, even the best-laid plans can go awry. With Election Day less than one week away, DRO wants to make sure that you’re ready to vote—regardless of what life may throw at you. Below, you can read more about alternative transportation options and special circumstances, like voting while living in a nursing facility or after being unexpectedly hospitalized right before Election Day.
If you are looking for a way to get to the polls, consider some of the options below:
- Family members, friends, caregivers, and advocates that you trust can be a great way to get to the polls: be sure to make a plan with them in advance!
- Your Center for Independent Living (CIL) may have resources. Look up your local CIL here
- The Democratic and Republican parties will often provide transportation for voters:
- Find contact information for your county Democratic Party office online or call 614-221-6563
- Find contact information for your county Republican Party office online or call 614-228-2481
Voting may be more complicated for some voters with disabilities. If you live in a long-term care facility (like a nursing facility) or are unexpectedly hospitalized right before the election, you may have to follow a specific process in order to vote. These processes are summarized below, but we recommend you contact DRO for further assistance.
Long-Term Care Facilities:
If you live in a long-term care facility, you can vote in person or by regular absentee ballot. However, you may be concerned about exposure to the COVID-19 when voting in-person, or may for some other reason be unable to travel to your polling location on Election Day. If you can’t vote in-person or need help filling out your ballot, you should follow the process below:
• Fill out this form from the Secretary of State’s website: https://www.ohiosos.gov/globalassets/elections/forms/11-f.pdf. You will be asked to describe the nature of your illness or disability and your inability to travel to the voting location on Election Day
o One reason you may not be able to go to the polls is because of an increased risk of contracting COVID-19
• Next, make sure the completed form/request is delivered to your Board of Elections by 12 pm the Saturday prior to the Election
o You can either mail it in advance (if time) or have someone you trust deliver it in-person
o Staff at your facility can also help you with this process
• After they receive your request, they will send two election officials (one Democrat and one Republican) to deliver and assist with your ballot
• Then, they will return to the county Board of Elections with your completed ballot so it can be tallied once polls close on Election Day
According to a health order issued by the Ohio Department of Health, election officials are considered “necessary personnel,” and may enter a nursing facility in order to ensure that residents have the right to vote. If your facility will not allow election personnel to enter the facility, you should contact DRO as soon as possible.
If you planned to vote in-person but now cannot because you (or your minor child) were unexpectedly hospitalized right before Election Day because of an accident or unforeseeable medical emergency, you can follow the steps below to request an absentee ballot after the typical deadline
• To use this method, you or your minor child would have to have been unexpectedly hospitalized after 12 p.m. on the Saturday before Election Day (10/31/2020)
o If you are unexpectedly hospitalized prior to this, you should request an absentee ballot using the regular form (though there may be other situations where this special unexpectedly hospitalized process should apply to you): https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/absentee-ballot/
• You have up until 3 p.m. on Election Day to request an absentee ballot through the special forms below:
o If you are hospitalized in your county of residence, fill out this form: https://www.ohiosos.gov/globalassets/elections/forms/11-b.pdf
You can ask a family member, friend, or two election officials to bring your ballot to you, then return it to the Board of Elections
o If you are hospitalized outside of your county of residence, fill out this form: https://www.sos.state.oh.us/globalassets/elections/forms/11-b-2.pdf
You can ask a friend/family member to bring your ballot to you, or you can ask your elections officials to email or fax a ballot to the Board of Elections where the hospital is located, and then two election officials from that county would deliver the ballot to you at the hospital
These processes can be difficult, so feel free to reach out to DRO before Election Day during business hours (9 am -12 pm, 1 pm – 4 pm) or anytime the polls are open on Election Day (6:30 am – 7:30 pm) at 614-466-7264 or 1-800-282-9181 (toll-free).