Absentee Voting

Can you pass this quiz about absentee voting?

What is absentee voting?

There are two types of absentee voting:

  • Absentee in person, aka early voting
  • Absentee by mail, aka by-mail voting

Should I vote absentee?

Here are some common groups that should vote absentee:

  • People who are in college outside of their home county (in Tennessee or in another state/country)
  • People who are in the military
  • People with disabilities whose polling place is inaccessible
  • People who are hospitalized or ill and can’t go to the polling place

What if I am a college student only in Tennessee for school?

If Tennessee is not your permanent home, absentee vote in your home state, not in Tennessee. You can find out how to absentee vote in your state by googling your home state and “absentee voting” or “elections”.

If I want to vote absentee, should I vote early or by mail?

  • If you are going to be in your home county for the early voting period, then you should vote early! For example, if you go to college in Tennessee but in a different county from your home county, then you could go home for the weekend during early voting instead of on the Tuesday of Election Day.
  • If going home to vote is inconvenient or does not make sense for you, or if you’re facing some other barrier from physically making it to the polls, then you should vote by mail.

How do I vote absentee by-mail?

  • Ask for an application for a by-mail ballot no earlier than 90 days before the election and no later than 7 days before the election
  • To request your by-mail absentee ballot, mail, fax, or email your local county election commission office with this information (you can find your local county election commission’s email and address here.)
    • Your name
    • Your address (permanent residence!)
    • Your social security number
    • Your date of birth
    • If you’re living outside of your county (in college or travelling for example) then the address to which you want the ballot mailed
    • The election for which you want an absentee ballot, and if it’s a primary, your party of choice
    • The reason you wish to vote absentee
    • Your signature
  • Must vote in person the first time

What if I ruin my ballot or never get it in the mail?

If you notify the election commission that you have “spoiled” or do not receive your ballot then they will mark it in their records and send you a new one.

Can you turn in your by-mail ballots in person?

They’re called by-mail for a reason…send them by post!

When is early voting?

The early voting period typically lasts from twenty days before the election up until five days before the election. Each county determines the exact dates and hours for early voting. 

How do you vote early in person?

You can vote on any Saturday in the timeframe of early voting except for holidays!
To vote early, you can either go to your county’s election commission office, or to a voting location opened by the election commission.