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AARP AARP States Tennessee Voters

How to Vote in Tennessee’s 2024 Elections

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Important dates and election information

Key dates

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  • Presidential primary: Tuesday, March 5
  • State primary: Thursday, Aug. 1
  • General election: Tuesday, Nov. 5

Voting at a glance

  • Voter registration: The deadline to register to vote for the state primary is Tuesday, July 2. Visit the state's voter information portal to check your status.
  • Absentee voting: Absentee by-mail ballots are available to some voters, including individuals 60 and older and people who will be traveling outside their county during early voting and on Election Day.
  • Early 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 and ends five 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 to know about recent changes

Redistricting in early 2022 altered certain boundaries of U.S. congressional and state legislative districts, but those changes have been challenged in court. Litigation is ongoing, so check back for updates.

Convicted felons may regain their right to vote in certain circumstances. Visit the secretary of state’s website for more information.

Voter registration

  • 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 also can pick up a form at a public library or at a county election commission, a register of deeds or a county clerk’s office.
"I Voted" stickers sit on a table at a polling station in Nashville, Tennessee on March 5, 2024.
Seth Herald/AFP/Getty Images

  • 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 need a Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security ID or a Tennessee driver’s license to submit your application. 

Check whether you’re registered to vote through the state’s voter information portal or through the GoVoteTN app.

Registering to vote on Election Day

Tennessee law does not allow for registration on Election Day. Residents must register to vote approximately one month in advance, whether registering in person, online or by mail. Visit the secretary of state’s website for specific deadlines for each election. The voter registration deadline is Tuesday, July 2 for the Aug. 1 primary, and Monday, Oct. 7 for the Nov. 5 general election.

Primary voting and party affiliation

Tennessee is an open primary state. Voters do not need to declare a party affiliation to vote in a primary. However, they may choose only one party’s ballot.

Ways to vote

Requesting an absentee ballot

Absentee voting is allowed under certain circumstances, including for anyone 60 or older, people who will be out of town throughout the early voting period and on Election Day, those who live in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, and anyone who is hospitalized or who has a physical disability preventing them from going to a polling place. A full list of valid reasons is on the secretary of state’s website. Some residents may qualify for placement on a permanent absentee voter list.

Getting an absentee ballot:

  • In person: Applications cannot be submitted in person. 
  • 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. 

Returning your absentee ballot

Only return completed ballots with proper postage by mail, including by the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, UPS or other mail carrier. In-person delivery of ballots is not permitted.

You must mail your ballot in time for your county election commission to receive it no later than the close of polls on Election Day.

Track your absentee ballot’s status via the state’s voter services portal.

Voting 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 and ends five days before an election. Early voting for the Thursday, Aug. 1 primary begins on Friday, July 12 and runs through Saturday, July 27.

Voting at the polls on Election Day

Access the GoVoteTN app for information on when and where to vote, polling locations, sample ballots and election results.

Polling hours may 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 are already in line. Visit the state’s voter services portal for details and to find your polling place.

Voter ID requirements on Election Day

You’ll need to show a federal or state-issued photo ID, such as a U.S. passport, Tennessee driver’s license, military photo ID 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 must sign an affidavit.

Voting with a disability

Voters who need assistance filling in their ballot can receive help from a poll worker or an individual of their choice, as long as that person is not an employer, union official or candidate on the ballot.

Polling locations will have an accessible voting machine designed to help residents vote privately and independently.

Voters with disabilities also have the opportunity to vote via absentee ballot.

More information about candidates

Key races:

  • U.S. President
  • U.S. Senate: one seat
  • U.S. House: nine seats
  • State Senate: 16 seats
  • State House: 99 seats

Check the secretary of state and election commission websites for updated sample ballots throughout the year.

Editor’s note: This guide was originally published on Jan. 18, 2024 and has been updated with new information about upcoming 2024 elections.

Michelle Tuccitto Sullo is a contributing writer covering state and federal policy. She previously served as managing editor of the Hartford Business Journal in Connecticut and has worked for the New Haven Register, Connecticut Law Tribune and New Haven Biz.

Also of Interest:

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