Voting in Tennessee
Voter Registration In Tennessee
Who Can Register In Tennessee
To register to vote in Tennessee, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be a resident of Tennessee
- Be at least 18 years old on or before the date of the next election.
- Not have been convicted of a felony, or have been convicted but have had your rights restored. If you have been convicted of a felony, your eligibility to register and vote depends upon the crime you were convicted of and the date of your conviction. If your conviction made you ineligible, you may regain your eligibility if your conviction has been expunged or if you have had your voting rights restored, unless you were convicted of a crime that rendered you permanently ineligible to vote.
You must register to vote at least 30 days before the election you wish to vote in.
Tennessee Election Day Registration
Tennessee does not offer Election Day registration, so be sure to submit your voter registration before the deadline.
You can pre-register to vote in Tennessee if you will turn 18 by the next election.
Voting Rights Restoration
Tennessee does remove voting rights for people with felony convictions. You have to re-apply in order to have your voting rights restored, although some felonies disqualify you forever.
If you have a past conviction, learn more about your eligibility to vote here.
Voting In Tennessee
Where To Vote In Tennessee
Vote-by-mail & Absentee
Voters can typically only vote absentee/by mail in Tennessee with an approved excuse. During COVID-19, illness, physical disability, or other underlying health condition that makes one especially vulnerable to COVID-19 is considered an approved excuse. Approved excuses include:
- 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). A physician’s statement is not required.
- 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). A physician’s statement is not required.
- 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.
Early Voting In Tennessee
Tennessee offers in-person early voting. No excuse is needed to vote early. Early voting begins 20 days prior to the election and ends 5 days before the election, or ends 7 days before a presidential preference primary.
Primary Elections In Tennessee
Tennessee has open primaries. Any registered voter can participate in primary elections, regardless of political party (Tennessee does not register political party). 17-year-olds cannot vote in the primary election even if they will be 18 by the corresponding general election.
Voter ID In Tennessee
Voter ID Requirements
Photo ID is required to vote in Tennessee. ID may be expired, and valid forms of ID include:
- Tennessee driver license with your photo
- United States Passport
- Photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
- Photo ID issued by the federal or Tennessee state government
- United States Military photo ID
- Tennessee handgun carry permit with your photo
If you do not have an approved form of ID, you may obtain a free photo ID from the Department of Safety and Homeland Security at any participating driver service center. You may use the express service line at the driver service center to obtain your photo ID to minimize wait times. To obtain your ID, you will need the following:
- Proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate)
- Two proofs of Tennessee residency (such as a voter registration card, a utility bill, vehicle registration or title, or bank statement)
- If your name differs from that on your primary ID, proof of the changed name (such as a certified marriage certificate, divorce decree, court order, etc.)
- If you cannot afford a copy of the documents required to obtain a free photo ID, you may sign a form stating under oath that you are indigent and have been unable to obtain an acceptable photo ID for voting without paying a fee.
If you go to your polling place without an approved form of ID, you will vote a provisional ballot. You will then have two business days after Election Day to return to the election commission office to show a valid photo ID. Upon returning to the election commission office, you will sign an affidavit and a copy of your photo ID will be made to be reviewed by the counting board.
Additional Tennessee Resources
Your State Election Official
Tennessee Secretary of State
Phone number: (615) 741-2819; Coordinator of Elections: (615) 741-7956