General FAQ about voting

Do I need the voter registration card to vote?
No. The voter ID card issued by our office serves as notification of your election day polling place. All you need to vote is a photo ID.  Your card lists information about districts for elected officials for your address.
Voting Center Image
What IDs are acceptable to use at the polls?
Any of the following IDs may be used, even if expired:
  • A Tennessee State issued driver license with your photo
  • United States Passport
  • Photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
  • Photo ID issued by the federal or Tennessee state government
  • United States Military photo ID
  • Tennessee handgun carry permit with your photo
What IDs are NOT acceptable for voting?
College student IDs and photo IDs not issued by the federal or Tennessee state government are NOT acceptable. This includes county- or city-issued photo IDs, such as library cards, and driver’s licenses issued by other states.
What if I have moved or changed my name since I registered to vote?
When updating your address or name within the county, please complete the change of address form no later than five (5) days before an election. The form may be mailed, faxed, or emailed with an attached document which includes a scanned signature, or submitted in person to our office. A new voter ID card will be mailed to you.
How do I check my voter registration status?
You can check your status by visiting the Tennessee Department of State voter registration information lookup service or calling our office at 901-222-1200.
What is the deadline to register to vote?
All registration deadlines apply to new applications, therefore, you must register no later than thirty (30) days before any election. If you submit the application by mail, you must vote in person at the first election with a photo ID. These rules apply even if you have been registered and voted in another county in Tennessee. If you are a new or returning resident in Shelby County, you will need to register.
Why is my voting status “inactive”?
If your voting status is showing inactive, we received information from the Tennessee Department of Safety or the United State Post Office that you moved.  We then mailed you a confirmation notice and you did not respond to it.  It’s important to know that being inactive does not mean a person cannot vote. It just means we need to verify who you are. If your address is correct, either return the notice or verify, in writing, that your address is correct.  If you have moved within the county, please update your address by completing the change of address section on the voter registration application.
When are the polling locations open?
On Election Day, voting locations are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. During Early Voting, weekday hours vary, but Early Voting locations are open some evenings and Saturdays. Check the Early Voting schedule for times and locations.
What if I have moved to a different county before an upcoming election?
If you move to a different county, it is not considered an update. Your voter registration does not transfer to other counties in Tennessee. You must register in your new county by submitting a voter registration application to their local county election commission office. The voter may either go to the local county election commission office or mail the application to their local county election commission office.
Why should I vote during Early Voting?
Early Voting is convenient since you can vote at any Early Voting location. (On Election Day, you must vote at your assigned location.) That means you can carpool with friends. Early Voting is available evenings and Saturdays, which makes it convenient for those who can’t get away from work and those who will be traveling on Election Day.
If I didn’t vote in the Primary Election, can I still vote in the Presidential or General Election?
Yes. Voting in the Primary Election is not a requirement for voting in General Elections.
I'm a college student. Can I vote in the community where my school is located?
Tennessee law states that a person does not gain or lose residence solely by reason of the person's presence or absence … while a student at an institution of learning…Some students are eligible to vote in this county while others are not. If you are a resident of Shelby County and are attending school in Shelby County, your proper address of registration is your Shelby County residence, not the address of your school. If you are attending school in Shelby County but your residence is in another county, you would register to vote in the county where you have an established residence, such as your parents’ home. It is a felony to be registered in more than one jurisdiction.
According to Tennessee law, the following factors, among other relevant matters, may be considered in the determination of where a person is a resident:
  • The person's possession, acquisition or surrender of inhabitable property;
  • Location of the person's occupation;
  • Place of licensing or registration of the person's personal property;
  • Place of payment of taxes which are governed by residence;
  • Purpose of the person's presence in a particular place; and
  • Place of the person's licensing for activities such as driving.
If a student has provided the college/university a "permanent" address other than the one where the student resides, then that is the most likely address for the student to use when determining the proper jurisdiction for voter registration.
Can I vote if I've been to prison?
The privilege of voting may be denied if you are convicted of a felony. Also relevant is when the conviction occurred and under what circumstances. For further information, please see Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) 2-2-139, 40-29-101, and 40-29-105. All ex-felons and current inmates should be directed to the Voter Specialist at 901-222-1256.
Is it possible to vote for a Democrat for one office and a Republican for another?
You can vote for a candidate of one party seeking an office and a candidate of another party seeking a different office during a general election.
However, during a primary election, a voter must select the party in which he or she wishes to vote and vote for candidates that appear on that party's ballot.

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