Voting in Tennessee

Below is a general guide for voting in Tennessee. For more detailed information, please visit the Tennessee Secretary of State's election website here.

IMPORTANT: If you are a student planning on voting absentee (voting by mail) for the first time, you must register in person.

Register to Vote

Vote in Person

Vote Absentee

Register to Vote

To vote, you must register (or be registered) at least thirty (30) days before the election in order to cast a ballot.

In Tennessee you can register one of two ways: either mail in an application, or register at a government office. To fill out a printable application online, visit Otherwise you can find a blank registration form (PDF) here.


If you prefer to register in person, visit one of these locations:

  • County Clerk’s Offices
  • County Election Commission Office
  • Public Libraries
  • Department of Safety (DMV)
  • Department of Health (WIC program)
  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Mental Health
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Register of Deeds Offices


What's the difference between registering in person and via mail?

Essentially, registering in person removes an additional step from your first time voting: you don't have to present secondary proof of identity. If you register by mail, you have to prove who you are the first time you vote. For instance, you may not vote absentee for the first time if you registered by mail. You must first vote in person and present a valid government photo ID or an expired ID along with a secondary proof of address (details below). 


Vote in Person

Where do I go?

Visit this website from the Tennessee Secretary of State to find your polling location online.

Otherwise, contact your local election commission:

Cheatham County: (615) 792-5770

Davidson County: (615) 862-8800 

Dickson County: (615) 789-7003


What do I need to bring?

State law requires every Tennessean to present a federal or Tennessee state government-issued photo ID to vote.

Any of the following IDs may be used, even if expired:

  • Tennessee 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
  • College student IDs and photo IDs not issued by the federal or Tennessee state government are not acceptable. 

If you registered by mail and are voting for the first time, federal law requires you to present one of the following:

  • A valid (current) photo identification with voter’s name and photo OR
  • If the photo identification is expired, the voter must also present one of the following:
    • ​​A copy of a current utility bill,
    • Bank statement,
    • Government check,
    • Paycheck, 
    • School Transcript,
    • Or any other government document that shows the voter’s name and address.


Vote Absentee

If you are a registered voter, you must request an absentee ballot between (90) days and seven (7) days before the election. To be processed for the next election, the application must be received by the election commission no later than seven (7) days before the election.

In order to vote absentee for the first time, you must register in person (see details above). While there are rare exceptions (including for ROTC), in general you may not vote absentee for the first time if you did not register at one of the government offices listed above.

Please visit the Secretary of State's website for the necessary forms and information or use's automatic tool.