Coronavirus in Tennessee: Worried about voting? You may be able to vote by absentee ballot

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The coronavirus pandemic may have some voters worried about going to the polls in August and November. Many voters, however, may qualify to vote by absentee ballot in Tennessee.

Eligible voters can begin requesting an absentee ballot for the Aug. 6 elections on Friday, May 8, the Knox County Election Commission said.

If you are a registered voter and fall into one of these groups, you can apply for an absentee ballot:

  • 60 years of age or older;
  • Hospitalized, ill, or physically disabled and because of such condition, cannot vote in person;
  • A caretaker of a person who is hospitalized, ill or disabled;
  • Outside Knox County during the early voting period and all day on Election Day;
  • You or your spouse is enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university outside Knox County;
  • Have a physical disability and an inaccessible polling location;
  • Reside in a licensed facility providing relatively permanent domiciliary care, other than a penal institution, outside Knox County;
  • A candidate for office in the election;
  • Unable to vote in person due to service as a juror for a federal or state court;
  • Election Day official or as a member or employee of the Knox County Election Commission;
  • Observance of a religious holiday prevents you from voting in person during the early voting period and on Election Day;
  • Member of the military or are an overseas citizen;
  • Commercial driver working out of the county. 

The last day to request an absentee ballot is seven days before the election. For the August election that date is July 30.

“Our recommendation is that the voter complete this application as soon as possible and return it to the Election Commission,” said Chris Davis with the Knox County Election Commission. “We want to make sure the voter receives his or her ballot with plenty of time to complete and return it by mail.”

The completed application must have the voter’s signature and can be faxed (865-215-4239), emailed (tammy.cole@knoxcounty.org), or mailed to the Election Commission office.

Ballots will begin being mailed out to voters the week of June 22 to voters that have requested them. The ballot must be returned by mail, FedEx, or UPS. It cannot be hand-delivered to the Election Commission office or a polling place.

The application for an absentee ballot is posted on the front page of the Knox County Election Commission’s website: www.knoxvotes.org.

For more information, contact the Election Commission at 865-215-2480.

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