1. What is absentee voting?
- Absentee voting is a voting method that involves voting on a day earlier than the actual election day.
- Tennessee has two forms of absentee voting:
2. Who may apply to vote absentee?
- Absentee in person, which is better known as early voting.
- Absentee by mail, which is commonly called by-mail voting.
3. What is the process for requesting the by-mail ballot?
- To vote as an early voter, a registered voter may
vote without giving a reason during the established early voting
period. The early voting period typically begins twenty (20) days
before an election and ends five (5) days before an election. In those
instances in a city election where there is not any opposition on the
ballot, early voting begins ten (10) days before the election.
- 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 or university 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 five (5) 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 (60) 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;
- The voter is a candidate for office in the election;
- The voter serves as an election day official or as a member or employee of the election commission;
- The voter’s observance of a religious holiday
prevents him or her from voting in person during the early voting
period and on election day;
- The voter or voter's spouse possesses a valid commercial driver
license or transportation worker information card (T.W.I.C.) and certifies that he or she will be working outside the state
or county of registration during the early voting period and all day on
- The voter is a member of the military or is an overseas citizen.
4. Is any additional information required for individuals who have registered to vote by mail?
request a by-mail absentee ballot, mail, fax
or email all of the required information in a single document or
request an absentee by-mail application from the election office:
- Name of the registered voter;
- Address of the voter's residence;
- Voter's Date of Birth;
- Voter's social security number;
- 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
- 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; and the
- Voter's signature
- If the voter is qualified (see fourteen approved categories above ), a ballot will be mailed to the voter.
- For the timeframe and deadline to request an absentee ballot for future elections click here.
5. How can a person vote who possesses
a valid commercial driver
license and who will be working outside
the county of registration during the
early voting period and all day on election
- Unless an individual who has registered to vote
by mail is on the permanent absentee voting register, that person must
appear in person to vote in the first election after the registration
becomes effective. If a by-mail registrant has already voted in person
since the registration, then no additional information will be required
to vote by mail.
6. When may a registered voter apply to vote by mail?
- If the voter or voter's spouse possesses a valid commercial driver
license and does not have a specific out-of-county or out-of-state
location to which mail may be sent or received during the early voting
or election day hours, the voter may:
- Complete an application to vote absentee by mail at the voter's county election commission office; or
- Send a written request that contains the information discussed in the question above; and
- Provide the commercial driver license number on the voter's current commercial driver license;
- Provide the voter’s current residential address and any mailing address to which the ballot shall be mailed.
7. To be counted, when must the ballot be received by the election commission?
- 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.
8. What if I do not receive or ruin my ballot and can no longer use it?
- The county election commission must receive the
ballot by mail no later than the close of polls on election day. Once
the election commission issues an absentee by-mail ballot to a voter,
the voter can only vote by mail.
9. What if I do not provide all of the information required on the by-mail ballot application?
- If a voter notifies the election commission that
he or she has “spoiled” a ballot or has not received the ballot, the
election commission shall note on the records that subsequent supplies
have been sent and supply the voter with subsequent voting supplies.
10. Can the ballot be hand delivered?
- The county election commission will reject the
application and return the application to the voter immediately by mail
to be completed and returned again. If time permits, any rejected
application must be corrected and returned to the County Election
Commission by the seventh (7th) day before the Election.
- No. The by-mail ballot must be received by the county election commission office through the postal mail.