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VOTE BY MAIL
Am I eligible to vote absentee by-mail?
You can vote absentee by-mail if you fall under one of the following categories:
- You are sixty (60) years of age or older.
- You will be outside the county where you are registered during the early voting period and all day on Election Day.
- You are hospitalized, ill or physically disabled and unable to appear at your polling place to vote (this includes persons who have underlying medical or health conditions which in their determination render them more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 or at greater risk should they contract it). For a list of underlying health conditions that makes a person more susceptible, see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html. A physician’s statement is not required to check this box.
- You are the caretaker of a person who is hospitalized, ill, or disabled (this includes voters who care for or reside with persons who have underlying medical or health conditions which in their determination render them more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 or at greater risk should they contract it). For a list of underlying health conditions that makes a person more susceptible, see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html. A physician’s statement is not required to check this box.
- You or your spouse are a full-time student in an accredited college or university outside the county where you are registered.
- You reside in a nursing home, assisted living facility or home for the aged outside your county of residence.
- You are a candidate for office in the election.
- You are observing a religious holiday that prevents you from voting in person during the early voting period and on Election Day.
- You serve as an Election Day official or as a member or employee of the election commission.
- You will be unable to vote in-person due to jury duty.
- You have a physical disability and an inaccessible polling place.
- You or your spouse possess a valid commercial drivers license (CDL) or Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card and you will be working outside the state or county of registration during the open hours of early voting and Election Day and have no specific out-of-county or out-of-state address to which mail may be sent or received during such time.
- You are a member of the military or are an overseas citizen.
- You are on the permanent absentee list (see question 4 below).
How can I request an absentee by-mail ballot?
You must submit a written request containing the information below to your local county election commission office by the seventh day before Election Day. You can use the absentee ballot request form to make sure all required information is provided.
You can submit your written request for an absentee ballot by mail, fax, or e-mail. If e-mailing your request, be sure the attached document contains the information below and your scanned signature.
- Name of the registered voter
- Address of the voter’s residence
- Voter’s social security number
- Voter’s date of birth
- Address to mail the ballot
- The election in which the voter wishes to participate. If the election involves a primary, the political party in which the voter wishes to participate.
- Reason the voter wishes to vote absentee. If applicable, a copy of the CDL containing the CDL number or the TWIC card must be included in the voter’s request.
- Voter’s signature
A request that contains this information will be processed and a ballot will be mailed to the voter.
NOTICE: A person who is not an employee of an election commission commits a Class E felony if such person gives an application for an absentee ballot to any person or commits a Class A misdemeanor if such person gives an unsolicited request for application for absentee ballot to any person. T.C.A. § 2-6-202(c)(3) and (4).
What if I do not provide all of the information required on the absentee by-mail ballot application?
The county election commission will return the application to you so you can make corrections and resubmit your application.
Do I qualify for the permanent absentee list?
You will receive an application for ballot for each election if your licensed physician signs a statement stating that, in their judgment, you are medically unable to vote in person. The statement must be filed not less than seven (7) days before the election and signed under the penalty of perjury.
When can I request my ballot?
You may request an absentee by-mail ballot no earlier than ninety (90) days before the election and no later than seven (7) days before the election. To be processed for the next election, the application must be received by the election commission no later than seven (7) days before the election.
What if I do not receive or ruin my ballot and can no longer use it?
You should notify your county election commission.
What is the deadline to return my ballot so it can be counted?
You must mail your ballot in time for your county election commission to receive it no later than the close of polls on Election Day.
Can I hand deliver my ballot to the election office?
No. You must return your ballot by mail (USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.).
Is additional information required to vote absentee by-mail if I am a first-time voter who registered to vote by-mail?
Unless you are on the permanent absentee voting register, enrolled in the Safe at Home program, or you have previously voted in the county of registration, you must appear in-person to vote in the first election after you have registered by-mail or online at GoVoteTN.gov.
What is early voting?
Early voting is one of two ways in which a registered voter of Tennessee may vote before the actual election day. The second way for a registered voter to vote early is called by mail voting.
Where and when can I vote early?
Find early voting locations and hours for your county in the GoVoteTN app.
Do I need an excuse to vote early?
To vote early, a person must appear in person at either the county election commission office or at a satellite voting location opened by the county election commission. The early voting period typically begins twenty (20) days before an election and ends five (5) days before an election. The exception is for the Presidential Preference Primary, when early voting ends seven (7) days before the election. Although closed from voting on holidays, a person may vote early on any Saturday that falls during this time frame. In those instances in a city election where there is not any opposition on the ballot, there shall be no early voting period.
VOTE ON ELECTION DAY
What to expect on election day
This video explains what voters can expect when casting a ballot in the state of Tennessee. It is produced by the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office and the Division of Elections. Click here to view.
Do I need and ID?
All voters must present a federal or Tennessee state ID containing the voter’s name and photograph when voting at the polls, whether voting early or on Election Day unless an exemption below applies. The information on this website is provided to ensure that all Tennessee voters have access to information about the law.
What IDs are acceptable?
Any of the following IDs may be used, even if expired:
- Tennessee driver license with your photo
- United States Passport
- Photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
- Photo ID issued by the federal or Tennessee state government
- United States Military photo ID
- Tennessee handgun carry permit with your photo
What IDs are not acceptable?
College student IDs and photo IDs not issued by the federal or Tennessee state government are NOT acceptable. This includes county or city issued photo IDs, such as library cards, and photo IDs issued by other states.
Who is exempt?
- Voters who vote absentee by mail (view requirements here)
- Voters who are residents of a licensed nursing home or assisted living center and who vote at the facility
- Voters who are hospitalized
- Voters with a religious objection to being photographed
- Voters who are indigent and unable to obtain a photo ID without paying a fee
What if I registered by mail and am voting in my first election?
Federal law requires first time voters who register by mail to present one of the following:
- A current photo identification with voter’s name and photo OR
- If the photo identification is expired, the voter must also present one of the following: a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows the voter’s name and address.
Is an expired photo ID acceptable?
Yes, as long as it was validly issued by the federal or Tennessee state government and contains the name and photograph of the voter.
Is my photo ID acceptable?
If you are unsure or have questions about your photo ID, contact your county election commission or the Division of Elections at 1-877-850-4959.
What if I don’t bring a photo ID to the polling place?
If you don’t bring a photo ID, you will vote a provisional ballot. You will then have two (2) business days after Election Day to return to the election commission office to show a valid photo ID. Upon returning to the election commission office, the voter will sign an affidavit and a copy of the voter’s photo ID will be made to be reviewed by the counting board.
What if I don’t have a photo ID?
You may obtain a free photo ID to vote from the Department of Safety and Homeland Security at any participating driver service center across the state. You may use the “express service” line at the driver service center to obtain your photo ID to minimize wait times. Visit the Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s Voter Photo ID page for more information.
Where is my nearest driver service center?
Visit the Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s Driver Service Center Locations page for information about locations and hours, closure advisories, and self-service kiosks and online renewal.
What will I need to get a free photo ID from the Department of Safety and Homeland Security?
You will need:
- Proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate), and
- Two proofs of Tennessee residency (such as a voter registration card, a utility bill, vehicle registration or title, or bank statement).
- If your name differs from that on your primary ID, proof of the changed name (such as a certified marriage certificate, divorce decree, court order, etc.)
Learn more about the required documents at the Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s Voter Photo ID page.
I have a driver license, but it doesn’t have a photo. Can I use it to vote?
No, but if you do not have another form of valid photo ID, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security will reissue your license with your photo for free upon request.
Can I get a free photo ID card even if I have one of the other acceptable forms of photo ID?
No. If you already have a valid government-issued photo ID for voting purposes, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security will not issue a free photo ID to you.
I can’t afford a copy of my birth certificate, so I can’t get a photo ID. Can I still vote?
Yes. If you cannot afford a copy of the documents required to obtain a free photo ID, you may sign a form stating under oath that you are indigent and have been unable to obtain an acceptable photo ID for voting without paying a fee.
Does my vote matter?
Do you ever wonder if voting matters? This video explains why your vote actually does matter and why you should vote in this upcoming election. Click here for more info!