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:
    • Absentee in person, which is better known as early voting.
    • Absentee by mail, which is commonly called by-mail voting.
2. Who may apply to vote absentee?
  • 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:
    • I am 60 years of age or older.
    • I will be outside my county during all hours of early voting and before the polls close on Election Day.
    • I am hospitalized, ill or physically disabled and unable to appear at my 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.
    • I am a caretaker of a hospitalized, ill or physically disabled person (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.
    • I am a full-time student or spouse of a full-time student outside my county.
    • I reside in a licensed facility, outside my county, providing relatively permanent domiciliary care, i.e. Nursing Home. 
    • I am a candidate for office in the election for which I am applying to vote absentee by mail.
    • I am observing a religious holiday that prevents me from voting during early voting or on Election Day.
    • I will be serving as an election official or a member or employee of the election commission on Election Day.
    • I will be serving on jury duty in state or federal court.
    • I am a voter with a disability and my polling place is inaccessible.
    • I have a CDL or TWIC or I am a spouse of a person with a CDL or TWIC and will be out of the county during early voting and Election Day and have no out of county address to receive mail during this time. 
    • The voter is a member of the military or is an overseas citizen.
3. What is the process for requesting the by-mail ballot?
  • To request a by-mail absentee ballot, mail, fax or email all of the required information below in a single document or request by phone an absentee by-mail application from the election office at 731-642-0411; or continue on this site and print absentee request form; or visit www.GOVOTETN.com for absentee request form:
    • 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 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; and the
    • Voter’s signature
  • If the voter is qualified (see thirteen approved categories above ), a ballot will be mailed to the voter.
4. Is any additional information required for individuals who have registered to vote by mail? You may still need to provide identification when you send back your ballot. Your county will send instructions with your ballot on what to include. Under the U.S. District Court Order of September 9, you do not have to appear in-person to vote in the first election after you register to vote.

Visit the Secretary of State website for more information:

https://sos.tn.gov/products/elections/absentee-voting

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 day?
  • 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.
6. 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.
7. To be counted, when must the ballot be received by the election commission?
  • 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.
8. What if I do not receive or ruin my ballot and can no longer use it?
  • 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.
9. What if I do not provide all of the information required on the by-mail ballot application?
  • 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.
10. Can the ballot be hand delivered?
  • No. The by-mail ballot must be received by the county election commission office through the postal mail.

Click below to access absentee request form.

November Absentee Request (updated 9-28)