Voter ID Requirements

What ID do I need to show when I register?
No ID is required to register.  However, you will need to show photo ID when you vote.  If you come into one of our offices to register to vote and you want to take your voter registration card with you, you will need to bring in a photo ID and proof of your current address.  Call us at 222-1200 for more details. 
What ID Do I Need to Vote?
You will need to present a Federal or Tennessee state ID that has your name and photo when voting unless an exemption applies.  
Do I Have to Have a Real ID to Vote?
No, the real ID, which is the one with a star, is not required to vote.  An ordinary license or state ID is fine.
What IDs are acceptable?
Any of the following may be used, even if expired:
  • Tennessee driver’s license with your photo (A real ID is not required to vote.)
  • United States Passport
  • 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?
College student IDs, and photo IDs issued by other states or cities cannot be used.
What happens if I forget my ID when I go to vote?
You may vote on a provisional ballot but you will need to go to the Election Commission office within two business days to show your photo ID.  Then your provisional ballot will be counted.  If you do not bring photo ID within the two days, then your ballot will not be counted.
Who is exempt?
  • Voters who vote absentee by mail 
  • Voters who are residents of a licensed nursing home or assisted living center and who vote at the facility       
  • Voters who are hospitalized
  • Voters with a religious objection to being photographed
  • Voters who are indigent and unable to obtain a photo ID without paying a fee

Federal law requires that those who registered by mail must vote in person the first time.  They must present one of the following:

  • Unexpired photo ID with voter’s name and photograph OR
  • If the photo ID is expired, the voter must also present one of the following displaying the voter’s name and address:
    • Current utility bill
    • Bank statement
    • Government check
    • Paycheck
    • Other government document that shows voter’s name and address
What if I don’t have a photo ID?
You may be able to obtain a free ID from the Tennessee Department of Safety.  Visit their website at:
The Department of Safety requires a birth certificate and I can't afford to get a copy of mine.  What do I do?
First, talk to the Driver Service Center manager.  There may be other documents that can substitute for the birth certificate.  However, if you cannot obtain a photo ID without payment of a fee, then Tennessee law allows you to execute an Affidavit of Identity at the polls and vote a regular ballot.  All Early Voting locations and Election Day locations have these forms.
Samples of acceptable photo ID:
Sample Military ID
Sample Military ID
Sample Other Federal ID
Sample Other Federal ID
Sample TN Drivers License
Sample TN Drivers License

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