State Rep. Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood) introduced House Bill (HB) 641 this week, pro-voter legislation that would allow Ohio voters to join a permanent absentee voter list. Registered Ohio voters who opt in to the permanent absentee voter list would automatically be mailed an absentee ballot application prior to the beginning of early voting for every election.

“HB 641 would strengthen our democracy by expanding access to absentee voting,” said Rep. Skindell. “More people than ever before are choosing to vote by mail. Creating a permanent absentee voter list would make this process more efficient, thereby increasing voter participation in our elections.”

There has been a significant increase of people who vote by mail. In the 2020 general election, there were 3,503,169 absentee ballots counted in the state of Ohio compared to 1,879,630 in the 2016 general election.

Under HB 641, a registered Ohio voter would only have to opt-in to the permanent absentee voter list once, and then would continue to receive absentee ballot applications every election, unless they request to be removed.

An Ohio voter could request to be placed on the permanent absent voter list multiple ways, including:

  • Written application;
  • Voter registration form;
  • Change of name or change of address form;
  • Application for an absentee ballot.