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Tennessee Election 2020: Answering your election questions

If you have a question about voting or the election, text it to 865-637-1010.

Elections can create a lot of confusion, from finding your polling place to figuring out if your voter registration is updated. We want to make sure you’re able to easily and smoothly cast your ballot. 

Here are some questions sent to 10News with the answers we were able to find from reputable sources. 

Do absentee voters have any assurance their ballot was received and counted?

You can track your absentee ballot online.  Once you mail your ballot in, just head to the Tennessee Secretary of State's website and look for the ballot status tracker. Here's the tool.

You will have to enter some personal information, and then you can watch to see that your absentee ballot is received and counted by your county election commission

Where can I find a sample ballot for my voting district?

Your local county election commission should be able to provide you with a sample ballot.  

You can find information on your commission here.

RELATED: Tennessee Election 2020: Here are what the two Knox County charter amendments on the ballot mean

Do I need to have the Real ID to be able to vote?

You do not have to have a Real ID in order to vote. State law requires voters to have a federal or Tennessee state ID containing their name and photograph, with a few exceptions

That can be a driver's license, a passport, a photo military ID, or a photo ID issued by the state or federal government. You cannot use identification issued by a school or workplace.

Do you need to have your voter registration card in order to vote?

No! You do not have to bring it with you, but you do need a federal or state-issued ID with your name and photograph.

Will masks be required of Knox County voters at the polls?

They are strongly encouraged, but if you do not wear one, you cannot be denied your right to vote.

Instead of going through the entire ballot, is there a way to vote for all Republican or Democrats with the flip of the switch? 

This is called straight-ticket voting. It is not an option in Tennessee.

Do you need to bring your own pen?

No, you do not. Polling locations that use paper ballots will provide pens.

Where is the best place to drop off my absentee ballot?

The only places where you should drop off your absentee ballot are post offices or delivery services. You cannot hand deliver an absentee ballot in Tennessee.

You must return your ballot by mail. You can send it at the nearest post office, FedEx, or UPS location. 

Will Knox County have official ballot drop boxes if you prefer not to mail your ballot? 

There will not be official ballot drop boxes, but there will be certain post offices in Knox County and in other counties across East Tennessee collecting absentee ballots on Election Day to bring to the election commission. 

RELATED: Election Day drop-off: Where you need to go Nov. 3 to mail your ballot

Is there early voting for the November presidential election? 

Early voting started Wednesday, Oct. 14, and continues through Thursday, Oct. 29.

Is there a special registration needed for early voting or can I just turn up and vote?

There is not a special registration. You can show up to any early voting location in your county and cast your ballot.

Do I early vote at my regular polling place or is there another location?

There are specific locations designed just for early voting. Most Election Day polling places are not open for early voting. 

Check your local election commission for early voting locations. Knox County’s are located here.

RELATED: Interactive map: Where you can vote early in East Tennessee

I live in Sevier County but would like to early vote in Cocke County. Can I?

No, you must vote in the county in which you are registered.

If I registered to vote for a previous election, do I have to register again?

You can verify if you are registered right here. If you are already registered, check to make sure your information is up-to-date. 

Where can I renew my voter registration?

You can change your name or address using Tennessee's online voter registration system.

How do I change my last name or address for my voter registration?

You can do it through the online voter registration system. If you recently moved within the county, you only need to update your voter registration. If you moved counties or changed your legal name - like if you just got married, you need to fill out a new voter registration.

My daughter will turn 18 on the 8th of October. Can she register to vote now and vote this year?

Yes. Since she will be 18 by Election Day, she can register to vote until October 5. The state requires voters to be at least 18 years old on or before the date of the next election. 

Can I request an absentee ballot because of fear of COVID-19?

You cannot request an absentee ballot in Tennessee listing fear of COVID-19 as your reason.

You can use COVID-19 as a reason to request one, but you must have an underlying medical or health condition that puts you at a higher risk of getting or fighting the virus.

RELATED: Justices overturn Tennessee mail vote expansion for November

I am 80 years old and don't want to go vote where there are other people. Can I vote online? If not, how can I get an absentee ballot?

You cannot vote online, but being over 60 years old is one of the qualifications for absentee ballots. 

You can request an absentee ballot by submitting the request form to your county election commission office by October 27.

Does the application for absentee ballots require you to tell your voting party preference?

When you request an absentee ballot for the general election, you will not have to disclose your party preference. There is not an R or D representing parties on the bar code. 

I applied for my absentee ballot a while ago, but it still hasn't arrived. Why hasn't the county already mailed the ballots?

Some of our local election officials say most absentee ballots will be mailed out by the end of September. Several East Tennessee election commissions say they are doing their best to get them out as quickly as they can.

The USPS says you should get your ballot in the mail by October 27. If you do not have your ballot a few days before then, check with your local election commission.

Do I have to fill out the envelope of my absentee ballot?

No, at least not in Knox County, because they use a barcode that contains the information they need.

Other counties, however, may be different. If you don't have a label or a barcode with your absentee ballot envelope, call your election commission to figure out what you need to do.

How can I see if my absentee ballot was received and counted?

You will be able to track your absentee ballot's status here

If I received an absentee ballot but want to vote in person, can I do this as long as I also do not send in my absentee ballot?

You should still be able to vote in person, but you should check with your local election commission.  

My mom is blind and wants to vote. How should she go about doing this?

Poll workers should be able to help her on Election Day if she is unable to use the system where she is voting. Polling locations are supposed to have accessible ballots.

If she wants to request an absentee ballot, she can submit a Print Disability Absentee Ballot Request form to request an accessible ballot by e-mail.

Can a felon have their voting rights reinstated?

A felon can regain their eligibility to vote if their conviction is expunged or if their voting rights are restored. The form must be completed by a probation/parole officer or criminal court clerk.

Certain convictions, including rape or murder, do not allow for restoration of voting rights.

If you have a felony from another state that's over 10 years old, can you still vote in Tennessee?

Even if your felony is from another state, you cannot vote unless you get your voting rights restored.  

If I voted for one party during the last presidential election, can I vote for a different party this election? 

Yes, you can vote for any candidate from any party during a general election.

MORE INFORMATION: Tennessee Election 2020: What you need to know to register, cast your vote


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