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Tennessee Vote by Mail

ALERT: Due to COVID-19, ALL voters who meet the absentee ballot criteria are able to vote absentee, even those who are first time voters. For additional information please contact your Secretary of State.

Tennessee

Absentee Ballot Process

Absentee voting is available if you meet any of the criteria below. The last day to request an absentee ballot is 7 days before the election (October ... Read More

Early Voting

Early Voting for the Tuesday, November 3, 2020 General Election begins on October 14th and ends on October 29.   Early voting is available and no exc... Read More

Upcoming Election Dates & Registration Deadlines

Some elections in this list are local and do not apply for all Tennessee voters. Please click the “View all” button below to view all election dates in your state.

Next Election: General
Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Registration Deadlines

Monday, October 5, 2020
By Mail
Monday, October 5, 2020
In Person
Monday, October 5, 2020
There are no additional election dates scheduled at this time.

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Tennessee Voting Information

Absentee Ballot Process

Absentee voting is available if you meet any of the criteria below. The last day to request an absentee ballot is 7 days before the election (October 27th, 2020). Voted ballots must be received by Election Day in order to be counted.

To vote by mail, you:

  • You are hospitalized, ill or physically disabled and unable to appear at your polling place to vote.  Voters who have an illness, physical disability or other underlying health condition that makes them especially vulnerable to COVID-19, and who, because of that condition, are unable to appear in the polling place on Election Day and instead wish to vote by-mail should check this box.  For a list of underlying health conditions that makes a person especially vulnerable see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-at-increased-risk.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.  Voters who are the caretaker of someone with an illness, physical disability or other underlying health condition that makes a person you care for especially vulnerable to COVID-19, and who wish to vote by-mail should check this box.  For a list of underlying health conditions that makes a person especially vulnerable see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-at-increased-risk.htmlA physician’s statement is not required to check this box.
  • Will be outside the county of registration during the early voting period and all day on Election Day
  • Or your spouse are enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university outside the county of registration
  • Reside in a licensed facility providing relatively permanent domiciliary care, other than a penal institution, outside your county of residence
  • Will be unable to vote in person due to service as a juror for a federal or state court
  • Are 60 or older
  • Have a physical disability and an inaccessible polling place
  • Are a candidate for office in the election
  • Serve as an election day official or as a member or employee of the election commission
  • Your observance of a religious holiday prevents you from voting in person during the early voting period and on Election Day
  • Possess a valid commercial driver's license and certify that you will be working outside the state or county of registration during the early voting period and all day on Election Day
  • Are a member of the military or an overseas citizen

You may request a by mail ballot by writing to your county elections office or fill out an absentee ballot request here. You may also email your request with an attached document including a scanned signature.

You may request an application for by mail ballot no earlier than 90 days before the election and no later than seven days before the election. 

The county elections office must receive the ballot by mail no later than the close of Election Day.

Once the election office issues an absentee by mail ballot to you, you can only vote by mail. If you notify the elections office that you have spoiled your ballot or have not received the ballot, the elections office shall supply you with subsequent voting supplies. The county elections office will reject the old application and send a new application to you immediately by mail to be completed and returned again. The by mail ballot must be received by the county elections office through the postal mail, it can not be hand delivered.

Overseas citizens and U.S. military personnel can find information on how to register to vote and request an absentee ballot at the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Campaign Finance Information

For information on federal campaign contributions, please visit Open Secrets.

For information on state campaign contributions, please visit your state's resource.

Candidate and Ballot Measure Information

Information on local, state and federal candidates and ballot measures may be available here.

To see a list of available races, visit the race index.

Early Voting

Early Voting for the Tuesday, November 3, 2020 General Election begins on October 14th and ends on October 29.  

Early voting is available and no excuse is required. The early voting period for generally begins 20 days before and ends 5 days before Election Day. For the Presidential Preference Primary, the early voting ends 7 days before the election. There is no Early Voting on holidays, however, Saturday Early Voting is available.

You should bring your voter registration card plus an acceptable photo ID when you vote early.

In a city election where there is not any opposition on the ballot there is no early voting.

For more information on early voting, contact your local county election commission office.

 

Election Dates

The next election dates can be found here https://www.vote411.org/tennessee.

Contact your local Board of Elections for more information.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to vote you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen
  • 18 years or older before the date of the election
  • A resident of Tennessee (The residence of a person is the place where the person's habitation is fixed and is where, during the periods of absence, the person definitely intends to return.)
  • Not disqualified under the law

*If you have been convicted of a felony, your ability to register and vote depends on the crime you were convicted of and the date of your conviction. You can find more information about voting after a felony conviction here.

ID Needed for Voter Registration

If you register to vote online, you will need an ID issued by the State Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Otherwise, identification is not required during registration but must be provided at the polls.

See "ID Needed for Voting" for more information.

If you register to vote by mail, the first time you vote you must present an acceptable form of ID. Examples of acceptable IDs are:

  • Current photo ID with voter's name and photo
  • 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.

Voters who register by mail must vote in-person the first time they vote after registering.

ID Needed for Voting?

A photo ID is required when you vote. All voters must present an ID containing your name and photograph when voting at the polls, whether voting early or on Election Day.

Any of the following IDs may be used, even if expired:

  • Tennessee drivers 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
  • State-issued handgun carry permit with your photo

IDs that are not acceptable:

  • College student IDs and photo IDs not issued by the federal or Tennessee state government

Who is exempt?

  • Voters who vote absentee by mail
  • 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

If you do not have a photo ID you may get a free photo ID from the Department of Safety and Homeland Security at a driver service center. You will need proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate), two proofs of Tennessee residency (such as a voter registration card, utility bill, vehicle registration/title, or bank statement), and if your name differs from that on your primary ID, proof of the changed name (such as a certified marriage certificate, divorce decree, certified court order, etc.). If you do not have a photo on your driver's license and no other form of valid photo ID, you may visit a driver service center to have your photo added to your license for free upon request.

If you do not bring a valid photo ID to the polling place you may vote a provisional ballot. You will then have two business days after Election Day to return to the election commission office to show a valid ID.

For more information visit the Tennessee Secretary of State website.

Overseas and Military Voters

You are a Military or Overseas voter if you are in uniformed services, living overseas OR a spouse or dependent of a uniformed services voter. To get registered and vote, you can utilize Overseas Vote Foundation.

If you have additional questions about elections and voting overseas you can use our state specific elections official directory or contact the Overseas Vote Foundation.

Poll Worker Information

In order to be a poll worker in Tennessee, you must:

  • Be registered to vote in Tennessee
  • Be at least 17 years of age to serve
  • Political affiliation generally preferred
  • Be a resident of state house legislative district or county for the 30 days prior to the election
  • Complete required training
  • Students who are 16 and meet all other voter registration requirements may be appointed

You will be entitled to compensation

To sign up, contact your local board of elections.

Polling Place Hours

Each county sets their own polling place hours. Contact your local elections commission to find out the times for your community.

Polling Place Locator

You can find your polling place by utilizing your state's tool.

If you have further questions on your polling place location, please contact your county clerk.

 

Provisional Voting

If you claim to be registered but are not on the list, you can receive a provisional ballot for later verification. Ballots are eligible for verification if votes are cast in the correct precinct.

Tennessee does not provide a limited provisional ballot.

Provisional ballots are counted within 4 business days after Election Day.

 

Provisions for Voters with Disabilities

Polling places are generally accessible and the voting machines comply with HAVA. If you have disabilities, you are allowed to bring someone to help you vote.You may also request assistance from poll workers. Such assistance will be provided by two poll workers, one from each party.

For more information, you can utilize the American Association of People With Disabilities (AAPD) resource.

 

Registration Deadline

You must register 30 days before the election. You can now register to vote online!

Time Off To Vote

Employers must grant employees up to three hours paid leave to vote, unless polls are open three hours before or after regular working shift. Employees must request this time by noon the day before Election Day, and the employer may specify when during the working day employees may take time off.

Verify Voter Registration

To verify your voter registration status

click here!
Voting Machines

The voting systems used in Tennessee are Optical Scan and DRE.

Optical Scan: With this system, you will receive a card or sheet of paper, which you take over to a private table or booth. The card has the names of the candidates and ballot measures printed on it. With a pen or pencil you fill in a little box or circle or the space between two arrows. When you are finished filling out all the cards, you bring the cards over to a ballot box, where poll workers will show you how to put the cards in the box. Or in some places, you may feed the completed cards or papers into a computer device that checks your card or paper right there at the polling place to make sure you have voted the way you want to and counts the votes.

Direct Recording Electronic (DRE): All the information about who and what you are voting for is on an electronic screen like a TV or computer screen.

There are many variations of DREs because lots of companies are inventing new ones, and many cities, counties and states are trying them out. Usually, after you have signed in, the poll workers will give you a card that you slide into a device to start your voting session.

Some of these devices will show all of the candidates and ballot choices on one big screen. Often, with these big screen devices you push a button next to the name of the candidate you want to vote for (or yes or no on a ballot measure). On other DREs, the screen is set up to show pages. On each screen or page, there will probably be one thing to vote on. For example, on one screen or page, you might vote for president. Then you might move to the next page to vote for senator. Often these small-screen devices have a touch screen where you touch the screen next to the name of the person you want to vote for. Other devices have a key pad. And some have a keyboard, so you can write in the name of someone you want to vote for.

You let the system know you are finished voting by pushing a button, touching the screen or entering something on a keypad.

You can learn more about voting systems by checking out the Elections Assistance Commission's (EAC) resource.

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Tennessee Department of State

Department of State

312 8th Avenue North

9th Flr Snodgrass Tower

Nashville 37243


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