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
How Do I Register To Vote in Tennessee
You may pick up voter registration applications in person at the following locations:
or during a transaction with one of the following agencies:
- County Election Commission Offices
- County Clerkâs Offices
- Public Libraries
- Register of Deeds Offices
- 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 Veteranâs Affairs
Click here to get the address and phone number for the board of registrars office in your county
You can download and complete the Voter Registration Application and mail the application to your county election commission.
Click here to download the Mail-In Voter Registration Form
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.
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
- 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.
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 oneâs 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 voterâs permanent voter registration record differs from the voterâs 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.
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