How to Vote in Tennessee’s 2022 Elections

Posted on 06/20/22 by Andrew Soergel, Elissa Chudwin

En español | Tennessee’s Aug. 4 primaries will determine which candidates appear on November’s general election ballot for governor, the U.S. House of Representatives and the state legislature.

What's new this year?

Redistricting has changed certain boundaries of U.S. congressional and state legislative districts and may affect which candidates appear on your ballot.

Essential info:

  • 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’s office or at a satellite early voting location, if your county uses one. Early voting runs from July 15 through July 30 for the primaries and Oct. 19 through Nov. 3 for the general election.
  • In-person voting on Election Day: The state’s primary election is Thursday, Aug. 4; the general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polling hours vary by county, but all locations will close at 7 p.m. CT, 8 p.m. ET.
GOP Senate Candidate Marsha Blackburn Campaigns In Franklin, Tennessee


How do I register to vote?

  • Online: Use the state’s voter registration portal to register or update your registration status. Include your name, date of birth and your 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.

Register by July 5 for the primaries and by Oct. 11 for the general election. Mailed registration forms also must be postmarked by those dates. 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 choose only one.

How can I get an absentee by-mail ballot? Are there important deadlines?

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 for voting absentee by-mail 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’s 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.

Applications cannot be submitted in person. All applications are due by July 28 to vote in the primaries and by Nov. 1 to vote in the general election.

Only return completed ballots by mail. Postage is not provided, so you’ll need to add your own. Ballots must be received by your county election commission before polls close 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?

Yes, you can vote early at your county election commission’s office or a satellite location from July 16 through July 30 for the primaries and Oct. 19 through Nov. 3 for the general election. Hours and locations may vary by county. Contact your county election commission’s office for more information.  

When is Election Day? When are the polls open?

The primary election is Thursday, Aug. 4; the general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. 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 passport, driver’s license or handgun carry permit. A full list of acceptable documents is on the secretary of state’s website. If you vote in person and forget your ID at home, you’ll be allowed to cast a provisional ballot and will have until two business days after the election to show a valid photo ID at your county election commission’s office.

What races are on the ballot?

  • Governor
  • U.S. House: all nine seats
  • State Senate: 17 of 33 seats
  • State House: all 99 seats

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on June 20 to correct early voting dates for the general election in Tennessee. The guide was first published on July 20, 2020.

This story is provided by AARP Tennessee. Visit the AARP Tennessee page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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