En español | Only certain Tennessee voters are eligible to vote absentee, but any voter can participate in early in-person voting.
The next statewide elections are in 2024, but voters in Tennessee's three largest cities — Knoxville, Nashville and Memphis — will cast ballots for mayor in 2023.
- Upcoming elections: Information about statewide elections is available at the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website. For local elections, see below or check with your county election commission office.
- Absentee voting: Absentee by-mail ballots are available to certain voters, including anyone age 60 and older and people who will be traveling outside their county during early voting and on Election Day.
- Early in-person voting: You can vote early and in person at your county election commission office or at a satellite early voting location, if your county uses one. Early voting usually starts 20 days before an election.
- Voting at the polls: A federal or state-issued photo ID, such as a U.S. passport or Tennessee driver’s license, is required to vote on Election Day.
What Do I Need To Know About the 2023 Mayoral Elections in Memphis, Nashville and Knoxville?
Voters in the state's three largest cities will go to the polls to elect a mayor this year, but dates and deadlines vary. Find more information at the pages below:
- Key Dates and Voting Information for Memphis >>
- Key Dates and Voting Information for Nashville >>
- Key Dates and Voting Information for Knoxville >>
Have there been any recent changes to voting in Tennessee?
Redistricting in early 2022 has altered certain boundaries of U.S. congressional and state legislative districts.
How do I register to vote?
Register online, by mail or in person:
- Online: Use the state’s voter registration portal to register or update your registration status. Include your name, date of birth and Social Security number. You’ll also need a Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security ID or a Tennessee driver’s license to submit your application.
- By mail: Print a voter registration form, complete it and mail it to your county election commission office. Or contact your commission office to request that a form be mailed to you. You can also pick up a form at a public library or at a county election commission, a register of deeds or a county clerk’s office.
- In person: Visit your county election commission office to fill out or return a completed registration form. You also can register during an appointment with the Department of Human Services, Department of Health or other location listed on the secretary of state’s website.
Check whether you’re registered to vote through the state’s voter information portal or through the GoVoteTN app.
Does my party affiliation matter when I vote in the primaries?
No. Tennessee is an open primary state, and voters don’t choose a party when they register to vote. Voters can choose which party’s primary they vote in, but they can only choose one.
How can I get an absentee by-mail ballot?
Only some voters can request an absentee by-mail ballot, including anyone 60 or older, people who will be out of town throughout the early voting period and on Election Day, people who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, and anyone who is hospitalized or has a physical disability that prevents them from going to a polling place. A full list of valid reasons is on the secretary of state’s website.
Apply for an absentee ballot online, by mail or by fax:
- Online: Complete an absentee by-mail request form and email it to your county election commission office. Your email must include a picture of your signature as well as your name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, a reason for voting absentee and the specific election for which you’re requesting a ballot. A ballot will then be mailed to you.
- By mail or fax: Download, print and complete an absentee by-mail request form, then mail or fax it to your county election commission office.
Applications cannot be submitted in person. The deadline to apply for an absentee by-mail ballot will be listed on the secretary of state’s website closer to an election.
How do I return my absentee ballot during an election?
Only return completed ballots with proper postage by mail. Ballots must be received by your county election commission before polls close at 7 p.m. CT, 8 p.m. ET on Election Day.
Use the state’s voter services portal to track the status of your absentee ballot.
Can I vote in person before Election Day?
Any registered voter may vote early and in person at their county election commission office or a satellite location. Early voting usually begins 20 days before an election.
What do I need to know about voting at the polls on Election Day?
Polling hours vary by county, but all locations close at 7 p.m. CT, 8 p.m. ET. You will be able to cast a ballot after the polls close as long as you were already in line. Use the state’s voter services portal to find your polling place.
Do I need identification to vote?
You’ll need to show a federal or state-issued photo ID, such as a U.S. passport, Tennessee driver’s license or handgun carry permit. A full list of acceptable documents is on the secretary of state’s website.
If you forget your ID at home, you may cast a provisional ballot when voting in person. You will then have until two business days after the election to show a valid photo ID to your county election commission’s office. While you’re there, you also must sign an affidavit.
Editor’s note: This guide was updated on April 5, 2023, with information about the 2023 mayoral elections in Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville. The guide was first published on July 20, 2020.
Also of Interest:
- Follow AARP's political coverage at aarp.org/elections
- Keep up with local events and AARP advocacy efforts at states.aarp.org/tennessee