Voting by Mail in Tennessee

Home/Voting by Mail in Tennessee
Voting by Mail in Tennessee 2020-09-29T19:03:28-05:00

Voting by mail is a great way to #votesafe during the pandemic.

Quick Links

Request absentee ballot.
Track your ballot.

What you need to know

How do I vote by mail?

First you have to request your ballot. You can do that here. Once you complete and sign the form, send it to your local election commission by mail, email or fax. Find your commission’s contact info at this link. If your request is accepted, you’ll get your ballot in the mail.

Am I eligible to vote absentee?

You can vote absentee in Tennessee if you fall into certain categories, including if you are:

  • Someone with an underlying health condition making you especially vulnerable to COVID-19 – or you’re a caretaker of such a person (see more info on this below);
  • Out of town during early voting and on Election Day;
  • Over 60 years old;
  • Hospitalized, ill, or have a disability – or you’re a caretaker of such a person;
  • A juror on a federal or state court;
  • A commercial driver (with credentials) who will be working outside of the county or state of registration;
  • A voter in a licensed permanent care facility (e.g. a nursing home) outside your county;
  • Observing a religious holiday;
  • An election official (poll worker, judge, etc.); or
  • A member of the military.

I’m not sure if I have a qualifying underlying condition.

If you’re wondering whether you – or someone you live with – have a qualifying underlying condition, it is up to you to make that decision. The state is trusting you to make the best call for your health. They’re not asking for a doctor’s note and the state has represented in court that they won’t prosecute you for checking that box. For guidance, the state is referring folks to the CDC’s list of underlying conditions. But again, if you decide you have a qualifying condition, you qualify to vote absentee.

Is absentee voting reliable?

The short answer: yes… if you get your ballot in on time! In the August primary, the most common reason for ballot rejections was late arrivals. This means that if you send in your ballot on time and fill it out correctly, it will be counted. But sooner is better than later! The good news: you can request your absentee ballot today. See if you’re eligible and then send in your request ASAP.

Can I track my ballot request and ballot?

Yes. Check this link. Once you have submitted the form, you should see when your request was processed, and once you have sent your ballot in, you should see when it was received.

More Information

Wherever is most convenient for you. Election workers seek to turn around requests for absentee ballots as fast as possible, so try your best to ensure that the ballot is sent to where you are (e.g. if you’re staying at your daughter’s place in Texas for the next month or two, request the ballot be sent there).
You will receive an absentee ballot in the mail with a sealable envelope in which to send your ballot and specific instructions on how to complete the ballot.

You can check the status of your ballot at https://tnmap.tn.gov/voterlookup/. If you see from the website that 7 or more days have passed since your absentee ballot was sent, contact your local election commission.

Once you receive your ballot, follow the instructions closely and send it back. Use a black pen to complete your ballot. You must mail your ballot in time for your local election commission to receive it no later than the close of polls on Election Day. Some postal officials suggest mailing your ballot 7 days before Election Day to be safe, which would mean mailing your ballot by October 27 for the November 3 election. You must return your ballot by mail (USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.) – it cannot be hand delivered to the election office. Don’t forget the stamp.

Yes! The signature flap at the bottom of your ballot will be verified, then detached from the rest of the ballot. Your vote will then be counted separately from the verified signature flap.
The signature on your absentee ballot request form and your absentee ballot are compared to your signature in the registration record, so sign with care.
No! There is no evidence of widespread tampering with mail-in ballots. If you are eligible and want to vote by mail, you can do so without worrying that your ballot will be compromised.
No! The state won’t count your ballot if you don’t write out your entire social security number. Make sure to provide complete answers to all the questions on the form.
Your election commission must receive the ballot by the close of polls on Election Day. That means you should put your ballot in the mail well before Election Day. Some postal officials suggest mailing your ballot 7 days before Election Day to be safe, which would mean mailing your ballot by October 27 for the November 3 election. Remember, so long as you submit your absentee ballot on time, the form is complete, and your signature matches the signature on your registration record, your vote will be counted.
You will need to use one $0.55 stamp (or one forever stamp) to mail your ballot.
No. Election law requires all absentee ballots be mailed. Your local election commission cannot accept ballots that are dropped off at their office.
You can check the status of your ballot at https://tnmap.tn.gov/voterlookup/. If you see from the website that 7 or more days have passed since your absentee ballot was sent, contact your local election commission.
Contact your local election commission to request a new ballot to replace a spoiled ballot. You will be sent a ballot marked “replacement ballot,” so that only one of your ballots will be counted.
On September 9, 2020, a federal court ruled that first-time voters who registered to vote online, by mail or at an event are able to vote by mail if they meet the vote-by-mail eligibility requirements.
No. You must request an absentee ballot for each election. However, you may apply to join the permanent absentee voting registry. You’ll need a physician’s statement swearing you are perpetually medically unable to vote in person. For more information on how to register as a permanent absentee voter in your county, visit your local election commission’s website.