Tennessee | Voting Guide

Registration Deadlines and Election Dates

Voter Registration Deadline: 30 days before Election Day


  • Voter Registration Deadline for Partisan Primary: July 7

  • Partisan Primary: August 6

  • Voter Registration Deadline for General Election: October 5

  • General Election: November 3

Official Election Websites
Register at School or Home

Students have a choice about where to register to vote.


Students attending college may register at their campus address or choose to remain registered or register at their permanent or home address.


You may only be registered and vote in one location.

What Type of ID Do I Need to Register?

Tennessee’s voter registration form asks for your full 9-digit Social Security Number. If you are registering to vote for the first time in Tennessee and you submit the registration form by mail (not in person at the county election commission office), you will need to submit a copy of one of the following forms of ID with your registration form or present the physical ID at the polls. Acceptable forms of ID for first-time mail-in registrants include:

  • a current photo identification with the voter’s name and photo (with or without an address); or

  • a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows the voter’s name and address.


Some forms of ID may simultaneously satisfy this requirement as well as the photo ID requirement below, like a current Tennessee driver’s license, but an expired photo ID will NOT satisfy the first-time mail-in registrant requirement.

What Type of ID Do I Need to Vote?

Voters must show a government-issued photo ID when voting in person at the polls either early or on Election Day. If you’re casting an absentee ballot by mail, which requires an excuse in Tennessee, you do NOT have to provide a copy of your photo ID. 

If this is your first time voting since registering in Tennessee, you must vote in person unless you qualify and are on the permanent absentee voting list.

Acceptable forms of ID include:

  • Current or expired Tennessee driver license or state ID with a photo;

  • Current or expired U.S. passport;

  • Current or expired free photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security;

  • Current or expired photo ID issued by the federal or Tennessee state government;

  • Current or expired employee ID cards issued by the federal or Tennessee state government, including retired state government employee photo ID cards and IDs issued by public universities to faculty and employees;

  • Current or expired U.S. military photo ID; or

  • Current or expired Tennessee gun permit card with a photo.


Student IDs, even those from public colleges, are NOT acceptable forms of ID. 

Voters who are hospitalized or are indigent and attest that they are unable to obtaina photo ID without paying a fee are exempt. Otherwise, if you do not have a qualifying photo ID, you will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot. But you will then have to provide a qualifying photo ID to election officials within two business days for your vote to be counted.

Where Do I Vote?

Make a plan. Look up your voting site and hours at: tnmap.tn.gov/voterlookup/

How Can I Vote?

By Mail

  • Voters generally may cast an absentee ballot by mail in Tennessee only if they register to vote in person or have voted before in Tennessee, unless they meet a specific exemption. If you’re a student, you must be attending school outside of your county of registration or have another reason for being outside of your county of registration during the early voting period and Election Day to be eligible to vote absentee by mail.

  • Applications for absentee ballots must be mailed, emailed or faxed to your county election commission office so that they are received by 7 days before Election Day.

  • An absentee ballot must be returned by mail so that your county election commission receives it by the closing of the polls on Election Day. You cannot hand deliver it.


Early In-Person

Early in person voting is usually available starting 20 days before an election and ends 5 days before an election.


Election Day

Polling place opening times vary by county. All polls close at 8PM Eastern/7PM Central time. If you are in line by the closing time then you must be allowed to vote.

Common Questions/Concerns

Registering to Vote Does Not Affect Your:

Federal Financial Aid

Where you register to vote will not affect federal financial aid such as Pell Grants, Perkins or Stafford loans, or your dependency status for FAFSA.

Status as a Dependent on Your Parents’ Taxes

Being registered to vote at a different address from your parents does not prevent them from claiming you as a dependent on their taxes.

Tuition Status

Being deemed out-of-state for tuition purposes does not prevent you from choosing to register to vote in your campus community.


Will registering to vote in Tennessee affect my driver’s license or car registration?

The definition of "resident" under the motor vehicles laws includes individuals who would qualify as a registered voter.

Fair Elections Center and Campus Vote Project intend the information contained herein to be used only as a general guide. This document should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a licensed Tennessee legal professional.


Last updated April 2020