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Tennessee absentee ballot guide

Last updated: June 25, 2020
  • In Tennessee, you can apply for an absentee ballot by-mail or in-person.

If you have never voted before in-person and you registered to vote by mail, then you must vote IN-PERSON the first time you vote. If you are on the permanent absentee voting register or enrolled in the Safe at Home program, you are not required to vote in-person the first time you vote.

Absentee ballot deadlines

  • In-person: 7 days before Election Day
  • By-mail: Received 7 days before Election Day
  • Online:
  • Voted absentee ballots are due: Received by Election Day

Who can vote by absentee ballot in Tennessee

Any registered Tennessee resident may apply for an absentee ballot and vote by mail.

Otherwise, you may get an absentee ballot and vote by mail in Tennessee if:

  • you will be outside the county of registration during the early voting period and all day on Election Day;
  • you or your spouse are enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university outside the county of registration;
  • you will be unable to vote in person due to service as a juror for a federal or state court;
  • you are sixty (60) years of age or older;
  • you have a physical disability and an inaccessible polling place;
  • you are hospitalized, ill, or physically disabled and because of such condition, cannot vote in person;
  • you are the caretaker of a person who is hospitalized, ill, or disabled;
  • you are a candidate for office in the election;
  • you serve as an Election Day official or as a member or employee of Election Day commission;
  • you will be observing a religious holiday which prevents you from voting in person during the early voting period and on Election Day;
  • you or your spouse possess a valid commercial drivers license (CDL) or Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) and you certify that you will be working outside the state or county of registration during the early voting period and all day on Election Day;
  • you are a member of the military or an overseas citizen;
  • a licensed physician has filed a statement with the county election commission stating that, in the physician’s judgment, you are medically unable to vote in person. The statement must be filed not less than five (5) days before Election Day and signed under the penalty of perjury;
  • you reside in a licensed facility providing relatively permanent domiciliary care, other than a penal institution, outside the voter’s county of residence.

If you are one of the last two, you can apply to be a permanent absentee voter.

Apply by-mail or in-person

  1. Download and fill out the Tennessee absentee ballot application.
  2. Sign and date your form.
  3. Mail or hand-deliver your completed form directly to your local election office. You should submit your form as soon as possible, but no later than the deadline.
  4. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot by-mail is: Received 7 days before Election Day.
  5. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot in-person is: 7 days before Election Day.

Your absentee ballot should arrive within a week of your application. If it doesn’t arrive, call your local election office and follow up.

Once your ballot arrives

  1. Once you receive your absentee ballot, carefully read and follow the instructions.
  2. Mail or hand-deliver your completed absentee ballot to your local elections office. Your ballot must be received by the deadline or it will not be counted.
  3. Your voted absentee ballot must be received by Election Day.

Confused? Need help?

Contact your local elections office if you have any questions about absentee ballots in Tennessee.