On April 13, 1863, the Ohio Legislature authorized qualified Ohio voters, in actual Military Service to vote by absentee ballot if they were away from their resident polling places on Election Day. As a result, during the Presidential Election of November 8, 1864, Ohio Soldiers & Sailors voted from Battlefields, Encampments, Ships, Field Hospitals, Forts and other Military Installations.
The law required three persons, acting as Judges, would accept the ballot. Two Clerks appointed by the judges, would record the name of the voter in an Ohio poll book. Poll workers were not paid. Ballots were strung on string as part of the counting procedures stated in the law. The poll book and ballots were returned to Ohio for a final count.
An absentee Ohio ballot for President showed the name of the Ohio County where the voter resided, the name of the Presidential & Vice-Presidential Candidates and the names of The Electors for those candidates. Usually ballots were printed. However, handwritten ballots and sample ballots from newspapers were cast and counted. Ballots did not have to be signed by some Soldiers & Sailors wrote their names or patriotic slogans on the ballots.
Because many Soldiers & Sailors were illiterate, ballots had engravings of candidates or patriotic symbols on them to help the voter cast his ballot for a candidate or party. Ballot scan be found in a variety of colors and sizes. Ballots printed for use by Soldiers or Sailors from one country were sometimes used by Soldiers or Sailors from a different county. The printed county name was crossed out and a new county name handwritten or passed onto the ballot.
The National Union Party Ticket (the National Republican Party & Conservative Pro War Democrats) supported Abraham Lincoln of Illinois and Andrew Johnson of Tennessee while the Democratic Party supported General George B. McClellan of New Jersey and U.S. Representative George Pendleton of Ohio. Both parties passed out ballots to soldiers.
*With 78 percent of the Union electorate casting ballots, Lincoln was reelected 2,218,388 to 1,812,807. In the Electoral College, Lincoln had 212 votes to McClellan's 21.
Inventory Number: DOC 230