Tennessee

Upcoming Elections

2022-07-05 – Registration Deadline

Tue Jul 5, 2022

2022-07-15 – Early Voting Starts

Fri Jul 15, 2022

2022-07-28 – Ballot Request Deadline

Thu Jul 28, 2022

2022-07-30 – Early Voting Ends

Sat Jul 30, 2022

2022-08-04 – Ballot Return Deadline (Received by)

Received by Thu Aug 4, 2022 8:00PM EDT

Last Updated: April 2022

Voting in Tennessee

When You Can Vote

Election Day

Polling places in the Eastern Time zone usually open at 8:00 a.m., and close at 8:00 p.m. In the Central time zone, polling places usually open at 7:00 a.m., and close at 7:00 p.m. A voter in line by 8:00 p.m. (EST) or 7:00 p.m. (CST) has the right to vote. Contact your county election commission to find exact opening and closing times for your county.

Where You Can Vote

How to Find Your Polling Place

Visit the Tennessee Department of State’s Voter Registration Information Lookup webpage at https://tnmap.tn.gov/voterlookup/.

Registering to Vote

Registration Deadlines

  • The voter registration deadline for the Tennessee State Primary Election is Tue Jul 5, 2022.

How to Check Your Registration: Voters can determine whether they are registered to vote at the following link: Am I Registered?.

You are eligible to vote in Tennessee if you:

  • Are at least 18 years old by Election Day
  • Are a resident of Tennessee
  • Are a U.S citizen
  • You must not have been convicted of a felony, or if you have, your voting rights must have been restored.

How to register 

  • Tennessee State Primary Election
    • Register By: Tue Jul 5, 2022

Registration Deadlines: Individuals must register to vote 30 days prior to the Election Day. Please see the “Upcoming Elections in Tennessee” section above for deadlines.

How to Check Your Registration: Visit the Tennessee Department of State’s Voter Registration Information Lookup webpage at https://tnmap.tn.gov/voterlookup/ or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

Registration Eligibility: In order to vote, Tennessee law requires that you must first register to vote at least 30 days prior to Election Day.  To be eligible to register in Tennessee you MUST:

  • Be a United States citizen;
  • Be at least eighteen years old on or before the next election;
  • Be a resident of Tennessee; and
  • Not have been convicted of a felony, or if you have, your voting rights have been restored.

View Guidelines for Determining Residency and special considerations for Homeless Persons Residency and Non-resident Property Owners.  There is no length of residency requirement in Tennessee in order to register to vote.

How to Register

Online

Tennessee offers online voter registration. You can find the Tennessee Online Voter Registration System at https://ovr.govote.tn.gov/. If you register to vote online, you must have a Tennessee driver’s license or Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security ID. If you don’t have either these documents, you will need to submit an in-person or by mail registration application.  

In-Person or by Mail

You may register to vote in person at your county election commission.  You can locate your county election commission at https://tnsos.org/elections/election_commissions.php.  You can also register in person at your county clerk’s office, public libraries, register of deeds offices, or during a transaction with the Tennessee Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Department of Intellectual and Development Disabilities, Department of Mental Health, Department of Safety (motor vehicles division) or Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

You can also download voter registration forms from the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website at https://sos.tn.gov/products/elections/voter-registration-application-form-ss-3010.  Applicants can mail completed voter registration forms to their county election commission.  Contact information for county election commissions is located here.  Applications must be postmarked or hand-delivered by the registration deadline (30 days prior to Election Day – see the deadlines above) to be eligible.  

Note that if you register by mail, and plan to vote absentee, rather than in-person, you must submit a copy of your ID when you mail in your absentee by-mail ballot.  Acceptable forms of ID include copy of either a current and valid photo identification issued by the federal or Tennessee state government (such as drivers license) or current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter.

If you submitted a copy of your ID with your by-mail registration form, or registered online through the online registration form, or if you are a UOCAVA voter, an ADA voter with an inaccessible polling place, a voter on the permanent absentee list, or a voter enrolled in the “Safe-at-Home program,” you do not need to send a copy of your ID along with your mail-in absentee ballot. 

Identification Required for Registration: 

If you are registering to vote in person, you must provide ID and a valid social security number at that time.

If you are registering to vote by mail, you must provide a valid social security number.  However, if you are a first-time voter who registered to vote by mail, you must present at the polling place (or early voting location) either: (a) a current photo ID with your name and photo; or (b) an expired photo ID and one of the following documents that shows your name and address:

  • Utility bill;
  • Bank statement;
  • Government check;
  • Paycheck; or 
  • Other government document.
Voting Early & by Absentee Ballot

If You Want to Vote Absentee, requests may be made:

  • In-Person
  • By Mail
  • By Fax
  • By Email

Absentee Ballots may be returned:

  • By Mail
Tennessee State Primary Election

Ballot Request:

  • Thu Jul 28, 2022

Ballot Return:

  • Received by Thu Aug 4, 2022 8:00PM EDT

Early Voting:

  • Early Voting from Fri Jul 15, 2022 to Sat Jul 30, 2022

If You Want to Vote Early In-Person

Early voting in person is available to any voter, and a reason for needing to vote early is not required.  To vote early, you must appear in person at either the county election commission office or at a satellite voting location opened by the county election commission. For details regarding times and locations, contact your local county election commission office. Please see the “Upcoming Elections in Tennessee” section above for early voting dates.

If You Want to Vote Absentee

Under Tennessee state law, to vote absentee by mail, a voter normally has to provide a reason under one of fourteen narrow categories listed at https://sos.tn.gov/products/elections/absentee-voting. This webpage also lists the process for requesting an absentee ballot by mail. 

The fourteen categories are:

  • 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.

You may request a by-mail absentee ballot by mailing, faxing, or emailing your completed absentee ballot request application directly to your county election commission office. The application can be found here: https://sos-tn-gov-files.tnsosfiles.com/Absentee%20Ballot%20Request%20Form.pdf. The following information is required when applying for an absentee ballot:

  1. Name of the registered voter
  2. Address of the voter’s residence
  3. Voter’s social security number
  4. Voter’s date of birth
  5. Address to mail the ballot
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Voter’s signature (Note: if you are emailing your request, your absentee ballot request application must be scanned—a digital signature is not accepted).

Your county election commission office will then process your request, and if approved, an absentee ballot will be mailed to you. If you don’t provide all of the required information, the county election commission will return the application to you so you can make corrections and resubmit your application. You can request an absentee ballot no earlier than 90 days before Election Day and must be received by the deadline mentioned above in the “Upcoming Elections in Tennessee” section. 

Your voted absentee ballot must be received by your county voter registration office by the close of polls (8:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. CT) on Election Day.  Be sure to carefully follow the instructions on your absentee ballot. You must return the ballot by mail; hand-delivery is not permitted. 

You must sign the oath on the secrecy envelope used to return the absentee ballot.  If you cannot sign the oath on your absentee ballot envelope because of a physical disability or illiteracy, the person providing you with assistance and one witness must sign their name and address.

Once the election commission issues an absentee by-mail ballot to a voter, the voter can only vote by mail.

If you requested an absentee ballot but have not yet received your ballot, contact your county election commission to check the status of your ballot.

Voting in Person after Requesting an Absentee Ballot

Under Tennessee law, once you have requested an absentee ballot, you cannot vote in person for that election except by provisional ballot.

Identification Requirements

Voter Registration

To register to vote in Tennessee you should provide:

  • Your Social Security Number

Voting In-Person

In Tennessee, you need to show a valid photo ID to vote. You can use any ID from this list, even if expired:

  • Tennessee ID Card
  • Valid Federal Issued ID
  • Valid US Passport
  • Valid Tennessee Driver’s License
  • Valid ID Issued by the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security
  • Valid Military ID
  • License to Carry Concealed Weapon or Firearm

First time voters who register online or by mail, if the ID is expired, must also present one of the following: * a copy of a current utility bill * bank statement * government check * paycheck * other government document that shows the voter’s name and address

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

Tennessee law requires that all voters must present a government-issued photo ID containing the voter’s name and photograph at the polls, whether voting in-person early or on Election Day. 

Acceptable forms of ID include (even if expired):

  • A Tennessee driver’s license with your photo;
  • A U.S. passport;
  • A photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security;
  • A photo ID issued by the federal government or Tennessee state government;
  • A U.S. military photo ID; 
  • or
  • Tennessee-issued handgun carry permit with your photo.

You may NOT use:

  • College student photo IDs;
  • Privately issued photo IDs (such as discount club cards or bank cards); or
  • Photo IDs issued by other states or by county or city governments (including library cards).

 You are exempt from the ID requirement if:

  • You are voting absentee by mail – in which case, you will need to provide a copy of your ID when you send in your mail-in ballot.
  • You are a resident of a licensed nursing home or assisted living center and you vote at the facility;
  • You are hospitalized;
  • You have a religious objection to being photographed; or
  • You are indigent and unable to obtain a photo ID without paying a fee.

If You Forgot Your ID

If you do not provide an acceptable government-issued photo ID, you will be required to vote a provisional ballot.  In order to have that provisional ballot counted, the voter must return to the election commission’s office to show a valid photo ID within 2 business days after Election Day.  Upon returning to the election commission office, the voter will sign an affidavit and a copy of the voter’s photo ID will be reviewed by the counting board.

If You Don’t Have a Valid ID

If you are a registered voter and do not have a government-issued photo ID, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security will provide you with a photo ID at no charge.  You may obtain a free photo ID to vote from the Department of Safety and Homeland Security at a driver service center.  In order to obtain this ID, you must provide:

  • Proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate);
  • Two proofs of Tennessee residency (such as a 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 certified marriage certificate, divorce decree, certified court order, etc.).

If you have a non-photo 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.  You must sign an affidavit stating that you do not have a valid government-issued photo ID for voting purposes. If you can’t afford a copy of the documents required to obtain the free photo ID, you may sign a form stating under oath that you’re indigent and have been unable to obtain an acceptable photo ID for voting without paying a fee.

If You Have Moved Within Tennessee

Moving within the Same County or Changing Your Name

You can change your address or change your name using the online voter registration system. The voter registration application also serves as an address/name change request.  You may complete and sign the  and either mail, fax, email the document which includes a scanned signature, or take the application to the local county election commission office.  The application must be signed and received no later than 5 days before the election in order to process the change.

If you do not choose to use the Tennessee voter registration application, you may also submit, in writing, any address change within the county to your local county election commission office.  The request must be signed and received no later than 5 days before the election in order to process the change.

If you have not updated your address and the voting period has begun, you are encouraged to vote during the early voting period.  The early voting period begins twenty 20 before an election and ends 5 days before an election (see the “Upcoming Elections in Tennessee” section above).  You may go to any early voting location within your county to update your address and vote.

If you wait to Election Day to update this information and your permanent voter registration record differs from your current address on Election Day, you must complete an affidavit before being allowed to vote.  You must vote either at the polling location associated with your new address or at a central location designated by the county election commission office.

Moving Between Counties

If you move to a different county, you must re-register to vote, no later than 30 days before the election (see the “Upcoming Elections in Tennessee” section above). To do so, you must register by using the online voter registration system, or by submitting a voter registration application to your local county election commission office in person or by mail.

If you submit the application by mail, you must vote in person at the first election.  These rules apply even if you have been registered and voted in another county in Tennessee.

Registrations do not transfer from county to county and if the above requirements are not met you will not be allowed to vote in that election.

If you are in the Military or are an Overseas Voter

Voting Military

Service members and their dependents may register and request a ballot using the federal voter registration/ballot request form (“FPCA”). You will have the following identification options when completing the form:

  • Complete Social Security Number

Voting Overseas

U.S. citizens living overseas may register and request a ballot using the overseas voter registration/ballot request form. You will have the following identification options when completing the form:

  • Complete Social Security Number

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

Under federal law, the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) temporarily registers you to vote and request absentee ballots for a minimum of all federal elections in the current calendar year. Be sure to complete a new FPCA each year and every time your address changes. The FPCA is also known as Standard Form 76.  For more information and for a downloadable version of the FPCA visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program’s (FVAP) Tennessee specific page at https://www.fvap.gov/guide/chapter2/tennessee. Once the application is complete, the form may be mailed, faxed, or emailed as an attached document which includes a scanned signature to your local county election commission office. When completing the form, Tennessee requires the voter’s full social security number on your FPCA.

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

Military and overseas citizens can send and receive voting materials by mail and email, including your absentee ballot.  You must indicate how you want to receive your voting materials on your FPCA. You can track your absentee ballot here.

Returning your Absentee Ballot

You must return your voted absentee ballot by mail. It must be received by mail by the close of polls (8:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. CT) on Election Day. If your ballot was rejected, you will be notified it was rejected and why.

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot

If you requested your absentee ballot and haven’t received it from your election commission at least 30 days before the election, you can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). The FWAB is an emergency backup ballot. This backup ballot can be completed using the FWAB online assistant, by filling out the PDF or picking up a hard copy version from your Voting Assistance Officer. The online assistant will guide you through the process of completing the form. Once you complete the form, you will be able to download and print the PDF package to sign and send to your election office. This PDF package even includes a pre-addressed and postage paid label so you don’t have to worry about finding stamps! Don’t forget a security envelope. (Use a separate blank envelope and write “Security Envelope” on it and place your voted ballot in it. This keeps your vote private.)

If You Have a Felony Conviction

If you’ve had a felony conviction, your eligibility to register and vote depends on the crime you were convicted of and the date of your conviction. A helpful guide can be found here. If your conviction has been expunged, you may answer “No” when asked if you have a felony conviction on the voter registration form. 

Convictions on or after May 18, 1981

All convictions for a crime that is a felony in Tennessee, whether by a Tennessee court, a court in another state, or a federal court, cause you to forfeit your eligibility to vote. You may regain your eligibility to vote if you have your conviction expunged or if you have your voting rights restored.

The restoration of voting rights form may be used to restore an individual’s voting rights for a felony conviction on or after May 18, 1981. Note: For each felony conviction imposed on or after May 18, 1981, whether it is a federal conviction, a state conviction within Tennessee or a state conviction from another state, a separate restoration of voting rights form must be completed for each felony conviction with a different docket/case number.

The form must be completed by an agent, such as a probation/parole officer or criminal court clerk, who has the authority to provide the required information regarding the individual’s conviction, final release date and information regarding restitution or court cost. The person convicted of the felony offense may not complete the restoration of voting rights form. Once the form(s) are completed, the form(s) must be submitted to the local county election commission office in the county in which the individual resides.

The restoration of voting rights form only restores an individual’s voting rights. An individual’s citizenship rights must be restored through a court order.

Convictions between January 15, 1973 and May 17, 1981

All persons who were convicted during this time period are eligible to vote. You do not need to have your rights restored, but the Division of Elections will need to verify you were convicted during this time period.

Convictions prior to January 15, 1973

You still have the right to vote unless you were convicted of one of the following crimes:

  • Abusing a female child 
  • Arson and felonious burning 
  • Bigamy
  • Bribery
  • Burglary
  • Felonious breaking into a business house, outhouse other than a dwelling house
  • Felonious breaking and entering a dwelling house
  • Larceny
  • Horse stealing
  • Robbery
  • Stealing bills of exchange or other valuable papers
  • Receiving stolen property
  • Counterfeiting
  • Forgery
  • Destroying a will
  • Incest
  • Rape
  • Sodomy
  • Buggery
  • Perjury
  • Subornation of perjury

Even if you were convicted of a crime listed above, you still have the right to vote if you can show that at the time of your conviction the judge did not render you “infamous,” if your conviction was reversed on appeal or expunged, if you received a full pardon, or if you have your voting rights restored.

For more information on applying to have your voting rights restored, visit the Secretary of State’s Election site page on voting rights restoration at https://sos.tn.gov/products/elections/restoration-voting-rights or call 1-877-850-4959. You can also access the Restoration of Rights Form on the Secretary of State’s website, or at https://sos-tn-gov-files.s3.amazonaws.com/forms/ss-3041.pdf.

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