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Tennessee Voting Quick Facts

Who Can Register to vote in Tennessee

Beginning January 1, 2012, all voters must present an ID containing the voter's name and photograph when voting at the polls, whether voting early or on Election Day .Get voter registration forms. Check your voter registration status.

To register to vote in the State of Tennessee, an individual must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be a citizen of the United States,(18) years of age or older on or before the date of the next election.
  • Be a resident of Tennesse
  • You must not have been convicted of a felony, or if you have, your full rights of citizenship must have been restored

Learn more about Who Can Register To Vote In Tennessee?

How Do I Register To Vote in Tennessee

In Person

You may pick up voter registration applications in person at the following locations:

  • County Election Commission Offices
  • County Clerk’s Offices
  • Public Libraries
  • Register of Deeds Offices
or during a transaction with one of the following agencies:
  • Department of Health (WIC program)
  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • Department of Mental Health
  • Department of Safety (motor vehicles division)
  • Department of Veteran’s Affairs

Click here to get the address and phone number for the board of registrars office in your county

Voting At The Polls On Election Day

WHAT IS AN ACCEPTABLE FORM OF IDENTIFICATION FOR VOTING

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. The information on this website is provided to ensure that all Tennessee voters have access to information about the new law.

What ID is required when voting?

  • 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.

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 web site for more information.

Learn more about Voting at the Polls on Election Day

Who Can Vote in Primary Elections in Tennessee

Both Democrats and Republicans hold Open Primaries

Tennessee law technically requires affiliation of a voter with a party before they vote in a primary, but also has a same-day affiliation rule.

No party affiliation required at registration, but the voter must affiliate at the primary polling location or declare their allegiance to the party (much like Mississippi's loyalty oath).

Click here for additional information

Who Can Vote Absentee in Tennessee

Tennessee has two forms of absentee voting:

  • Absentee in person, which is better known as early voting, and
  • Absentee by mail, which is commonly called by-mail voting.

Who may apply to vote absentee?

  • To vote by mail, a registered voter must fall under one of the following categories:
  • The voter will be outside the county of registration during the early voting period and all day on election day; The voter or the voter's spouse is enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college oruniversity outside the county of registration;
  • The voter's licensed physician has filed a statement with the county election commission stating that, in the physician's judgment, the voter is 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;
  • The voter resides in a licensed facility providing relatively permanent domiciliary care, other than a penal institution, outside the voter's county of residence
  • The voter will be unable to vote in person due to service as a juror for a federal or state court
  • The voter is sixty-five (65) years of age or older
  • The voter has a physical disability and an inaccessible polling place
  • The voter is hospitalized, ill, or physically disabled and because of such condition, cannot vote in person
  • The voter is a caretaker of a person who is hospitalized, ill, or disabled

What is the process for requesting the by-mail ballot?

  • To request a by-mail absentee ballot, mail, fax or email with an attached document which includes a scanned signature the following information directly to your local county election commission office:
  • 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 outside the county (this applies only when the reason for voting by mail involves that the voter will be outside of the county during early voting and on election day)
  • The election the voter wishes to participate in. If the election involves a primary, the political party in which the voter wishes to participate
  • Reason the voter wishes to vote absentee
  • Voter's signature

When may a registered voter apply to vote by mail?

A registered voter may request an application for 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.

Can the ballot be hand delivered?

No. The by-mail ballot must be received by the county election commission office through the postal mail.

Learn more about Voting By Absentee Ballot in Tennessee

What If My Address Has Changed

Did you move within your county or change your name?

  • The voter registration application also serves as a name and/or address change request. Complete and sign the form. When updating your address within the county, the form may be mailed, faxed, or emailed with an attached document which includes a scanned signature or submitted in person to your local county election commission office. When updating one’s name, the form must be mailed or taken to your local county election commission office. The form must be signed and received no later than five (5) days before the election in order to process the change.
  • If the voter does not choose to use the above application, the voter may also submit, in writing, any address change within the county to their local county election commission office. The request must be signed and received no later than five (5) days before the election in order to process the change.
  • If the voter has not updated their address and the voting period has begun, we encourage the voter to vote during the early voting period. The early voting period typically runs from the twentieth (20th) day to the fifth (5th) day before the election. The voter may go to any early voting location within their county to update their address and vote.
  • If the voter elects to wait to the day of the election to update this information and the voter’s permanent voter registration record differs from the voter’s current address, the voter must complete an affidavit before being allowed to vote. The voter will be required to vote either at their new polling location or at a central location designated by the county election commission office.

Did you move to a different county?

  • If you move to a different county, it is not considered an update. Your registration does not transfer to other counties in Tennessee. A voter must register in their new county by submitting a voter registration application to their local county election commission office. The voter may either go in person to the local county election commission office or mail the application to their local county election commission office.
  • All registration deadlines apply to new applications, therefore, the voter must register no later than thirty (30) days before the election. If the voter submits the application by-mail, the voter must vote in person at the first election. These rules apply even if you have been registered and voted in another county in Tennessee.
  • Remember registrations do not transfer from county to county and if the above requirements are not met the voter will not be allowed to vote in that election.

Learn more about Movers/college students Voting

Have A Question?

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  • State Voting Guide
  • Elections Calendar
  • States Summary

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When Is The Next Election?

Upcoming Elections Calendar - Election dates and deadlines - Check Tennessee upcoming elections schedule

Poll Hours: 7:00 AM- 8:00PM ET /7:00 PM CT

Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-3-201. Hours of election: Polling places shall be open for voting for a minimum of ten (10) continuous hours but no more than thirteen (13) hours. All polling places in counties in the eastern time zone shall close at eight o'clock p.m. (8:00 p.m.) prevailing time and polling places in counties in the central time zone shall close at seven o'clock p.m. (7:00 p.m.) prevailing time.

In any county having a population of not less than one hundred twenty thousand (120,000) according to the 1970 federal census or any subsequent federal census, all polling places shall open by eight o'clock a.m. (8:00 a.m.) prevailing time, but nothing shall prevent an earlier opening time in the discretion of the county election commission.

In the case of municipal elections in a municipality having a population of not more than five thousand (5,000), according to the 1980 federal census or any subsequent federal census, where there is no opposition for any of the offices involved, the polling places shall open at the hour of ten o'clock a.m. (10:00 a.m.) and close at the hour of six o'clock p.m. (6:00 p.m.).

How can I find my polling location?

If you do not know where your polling place is,you can use tnmap.tn.gov If you have any issues or questions, please contact your County Clerk

Can I Register At The Polls On Election Day?

NO: Tennessee does not provide Same Day Voter Registration. You must register to vote by the voter registration deadline in order to vote in an election. If you miss the voter registration deadline for an election you should contact your local election office.

Can I Take Time Off For Voting? Yes

Employees who begin their work day less than 3 hours after polls open and finish less than 3 hours before polls close are entitled to up to 3 hours paid leave to vote. The employee must request leave by noon the day before Election Day. The employer can set the time for leave to vote.

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