Voter Registrations in Tennessee
Tennessee residents wishing to register to vote have a variety of options at their disposal. While Tennessee voter registration is not available at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as it is in some other states, Tennessee offers readily accessible voter application materials at more than ten different types of government agencies statewide. Becoming registered to vote in Tennessee guarantees a resident the right to contribute his or her official ballot in any election taking place in his or her county region.
Bear in mind that voting registration records are a matter of public record and can be viewed in their basic formats by any citizen of Tennessee. Obtaining a Tennessee voter registration card shows legal proof of voting rights in the state and can help voters know where to make their voices heard on election days.
Who can register to vote in Tennessee?
Voter registration in Tennessee carries several basic requirements. You cannot obtain a voter registration card in TN unless you are a United States citizen, an official resident of the state of Tennessee and will be a legal adult of eighteen years of age or older by the date of the next election. Tennessee institutes guidelines for establishing official residency, special considerations for the residency status of homeless citizens as well as qualifications of non-resident property owners.
If you are registering in Tennessee after a felony conviction, you must have already had your voting rights restored in full prior to applying. The registration deadline is thirty days prior to the election you wish to participate in. If you are mailing in your voter registration application form, it must be postmarked with a date that represents a minimum of thirty days prior to the next election in order to be processed in time.
What is the application process for voter registration in Tennessee?
Tennessee has made it very easy to register to vote via its multi-option approach to submitting an application. TN residents have the option of sending in voter registration materials in three separate ways.
Voters can register electronically via the website of the Tennessee Secretary of State, by printing a registration application from this same website and then mailing it in once completed or by collecting registration application materials in person at any of a number of local government agency offices and completing the paperwork on site.
Registering via the online platform requires a valid Tennessee driver’s license or a Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security ID. All mailed applications should be sent to the county election commission. Tennessee voter registration materials can be picked up in person at the following locations:
- Public libraries
- Register of Deeds offices
- County Clerk offices
- County Election Commission offices
Tennessee residents can also register to vote while completing other business transactions with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the Department of Human Services, the WIC program at the Department of Health, the Department of Safety and the Department of Mental Health.
How to Register To Vote via Early Voting in Tennessee
Tennessee makes voter registration for citizens wishing to partake of early voting opportunities open and available. You do not need any special causes beyond your own convenience to register to vote early in Tennessee.
Early voting in Tennessee generally begins about twenty days prior to an election and ends roughly five days before the official election date. Any citizen who wishes to do so can come in person to early-vote at the election commission office or any of its designated satellite locales unless there is a ballot containing no opposition, in which case there is no early voting.
You are not required to change voter registration information or fill out any additional paperwork in order to vote early in Tennessee and may vote anytime Monday through Saturday that falls in this time frame, excluding major holidays. Early voting is also possible by mail for those citizens who possess a statutory reason for not being able to attend a polling place in person.
Am I registered to vote in Tennessee if I am active-duty military or overseas?
“Where do I vote?” is a question Tennessee military and other citizens stationed abroad do not have to ask thanks to the Tennessee Secretary of State’s online portal and mail-in options designed specifically for the needs of the overseas community. Whether you have an established voter registration card or not, Tennessee participates in the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) and this means that if you are active-duty military, the immediate family of active-duty military or other citizen working overseas, you can simply submit a Federal Post Card application to the election commission office by email or regular post.
This form must be completed, signed and either faxed, mailed or emailed to the election commission office by the close of the polls on Election Day. For those without pre-established voter registration in Tennessee, the successful submission of this type of absentee ballot is handled as a form of temporary registration, provided that the applicant meets all aforementioned qualifications for registration in Tennessee.
Do I have to change voter registration information in Tennessee to participate in absentee voting?
If you would like to register to vote by absentee ballot in Tennessee, you must notify the election commission office by submitting an absentee ballot request form or other written request by the seventh day prior to the official Election Day. You can apply for absentee voter registration in Tennessee by email, fax or postal mail. Your written request for absentee status must include:
- Your name, address and date of birth.
- Your Social Security number.
- The address where you want the ballot sent.
- The reason for the absentee need and the election for which it is needed.
- Your signature.
Absentee voting registration is complete when the voter mails the marked ballot back to the election commission office and ballots must be received by the closing of the polls on Election Day in order to be processed.
What is my Tennessee voter registration card?
When you register to vote for the first time in Tennessee, or when you officially change the address on your voting materials, your registration card is mailed to you. A Tennessee registration card simply shows a resident’s legal right to participate in any upcoming election within his or her county. Registration cards typically display the voter’s name, address, drivers license or ID number, voting precinct and polling place.
How do I complete a voter registration change of address in Tennessee?
You can change voter registration address information in Tennessee via the online voter registration system available through the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website. You can also change voter registration details such as name or address in Tennessee by utilizing the standard registration application, which functions as a formal change request in these instances.
If you are updating your address within the same county, you can email, fax or mail the application form to the election commission office with your signature attached, or deliver the application materials in person. If you have moved to another county in Tennessee, you must complete new voter registration in that county as valid registration does not transfer between counties. Remember to also go through the name change process on your license or ID card.
How do I replace a lost or stolen Tennessee voter registration card?
In order to obtain duplicate Tennessee voting registration materials, you must submit a written request to your election commission office. Losing your voter registration card in Tennessee does not mean that you have to go through the registration process again.
On the other hand, obtaining a new card does require you to formally state to the election commission office that your original card is missing. You can also access your voter information, such as polling place and representatives, via the voter lookup site or phone app provided by the Tennessee Secretary of State.