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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Election Day is on the horizon: here's a guide to absentee voting in Tennessee

Your questions answered if you're voting by absentee ballots in Tennessee.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Election Day is just over a month away, and with COVID-19 still impacting us all, many would like to vote by mail. 

As a matter of fact, there has been a big increase in the number of absentee ballots requested. 

But what are the requirements for absentee ballots in Tennessee? 

If you want to cast your ballot by mail – you’ll need an excuse.   

“The most common reason is if you’re over 60 years-old you can automatically request an absentee ballot,” said Linda Phillips, the administrator of the Shelby County Election Commission.  

But that’s not the only one.   

“Being out of the county for example if you’re a student or a transportation worker and you’re not in the county during early voting and on election day,” said Phillips. 

Phillips said other requirements are if you’re sick, hospitalized, or disabled.   

A Tennessee State Supreme Court ruled that concern about COVID-19 is not a valid excuse to request an absentee ballot. 

However, people can if they or someone in their care have an underlying health condition that causes them to be more susceptible to COVID-19.   

“The legal deadline is 7 days prior to the election. But the legal deadline and the practical deadline are not the same.”  

Philips warns voters should ask for their ballots no later than two weeks before Election Day, which is November 3rd.   

When you fill out the ballot, make sure you do so completely.   

“We had a couple of hundred ballots that we just could not count because the affidavit was not signed, it wasn’t signed by the voter, it was missing,” said Phillips.   

Mail-in ballots have to be received by 7 p.m. on election day and are processed the same day starting at 7 a.m.    

Phillips emphasizes that you are required to mail your absentee ballots. 

They can not be dropped off or hand-delivered.   

For information about absentee ballots in Mississippi or Arkansas, click here.