Absentee Voting Information
Absentee Voting by Mail
a Ballot | Military & Overseas Voting
Absentee Voting by Mail
To vote by mail, a registered voter must fall under one of the following categories:
- The voter will be outside the county of registration during the early voting period and all day on election day;
- The voter or the voter’s spouse is enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university outside the county of registration;
- The voter’s licensed physician has filed a statement with the county election commission stating that, in the physician's judgment, the voter is medically unable to vote in person. The statement must be filed not less than five (5) days before the election and signed under the penalty of perjury. The statement must be notarized;
- The voter resides in a licensed facility providing relatively permanent domiciliary care, other than a penal institution, outside the voter's county of residence;
- The voter will be unable to vote in person due to service as a juror for a federal or state court;
- The voter is sixty (60) years of age or older;
- The voter has a physical disability and an inaccessible polling place;
- The voter is hospitalized, ill, or physically disabled and because of such condition, cannot vote in person;
- The voter is a caretaker of a person who is hospitalized, ill, or disabled;
- The voter is a candidate for office in the election;
- The voter serves as an election day official or as a member or employee of the election commission;
- The voter’s observance of a religious holiday prevents him or her from voting in person during the early voting period and on election day;
- The voter possesses a valid commercial driver license and certifies that he or she will be working outside the state or county of registration during the early voting period and all day on election day. The request should contain the CDL number;
- The voter is a member of the military or is an overseas citizen.
Requesting a Ballot
A registered voter may request a by-mail ballot by sending a written request to the DeKalb County Election Commission. The request must have the voter’s signature. The request may be mailed or faxed to the county election commission office. Upon receipt of the request, the local election commission will mail an application for ballot to the voter. The application must be mailed back to the election commission and a ballot will be mailed to the voter.
However, if the voter wants to expedite the application process, the voter may place the following information in the request for ballot:
- The name of the registered voter;
- The address of the voter's residence;
- The voter's social security number;
- The address to mail the ballot outside the county (this applies only when the reason for voting by mail involves that the voter will be outside of the county during early voting and on election day);
- The election the voter wishes to participate in. If the election involves a primary, the political party in which the voter wishes to participate;
- The reason the voter wishes to vote absentee; and
- The voter’s signature. (If the voter is unable to sign his/her name, contact the Election Commission office for details.)
A request that contains this information will be treated and processed as an application for ballot, and a ballot will be mailed to the voter.
A registered voter may request an application for by-mail ballot no earlier than ninety (90) days before the election and no later than 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 five (5) days before the election.
In order to be counted the ballot must be received by election day. The ballot must be returned by mail and not hand delivered.
Military and Overseas Voting
Who may apply to vote absentee under T.C.A. § 2-6-502?
To vote pursuant to the above statute, an individual must fall into one of the following categories:
- MILITARY PERSONNEL: Persons who are United States citizens, residents of Tennessee and members of the Uniformed Services (i.e., armed forces personnel), and their family members
- CIVILIANS OUTSIDE U.S.: Persons who are United States citizens, residents of Tennessee, and who are currently residing overseas
- PERSONS BORN OVERSEAS: A person who has never lived in the U.S., but has a parent who is eligible to vote in Tennessee, may vote in Tennessee using the same voting residence claimed by the parent.
When can I request an absentee ballot?
Applications may be received in the Election Commission office no earlier than January 1 of the year the election is to be held unless the election is to be held less than 90 days after January 1 of the calendar year. The application must be received no later than 7 days before the Election. The ballot must be received by the time the polls close on Election Day and must be returned by mail.
Must I already be a registered voter to vote in Tennessee pursuant to this provision?
No. If you meet one of the three qualifications listed above but have not registered prior to requesting an absentee ballot your application for absentee ballot will be treated as an application for temporary registration. Normally a person who registers to vote by mail must vote in person the first time, but this provision is waived for military and overseas voters. If you were not already a permanent registered voter in DeKalb County the application is treated as a temporary registration, and will expire after two Federal General Elections.
If you are in the military or living overseas and wish to vote pursuant to this statute, please use a Form 76 which is available online or on the military base from the voting assistance officer or from the U.S. Embassy. If you are unable to obtain a Form 76, you may submit a letter containing the information required in TCA 2-6-502(b) and sign the request under penalty of perjury, verifying all the information on the request is true and correct and that the voter is eligible to vote in the election. If you wish to vote in a primary election the request must state which political party.
The absentee ballot application must be complete. If any information is omitted, the Election Commission will reject the application and return it to you for completion. This will slow the process down considerably.
After submitting a Form 76 you will be mailed ballots for each federal election for two Federal General Election cycles. For example, if you send a Form 76 in February 2006, we will mail you ballots through November of 2008. It is your responsibility to notify us if your address changes to insure the ballot is mailed to the correct address.
More information and a Form 76 at http://www.fvap.gov .
The form must be printed out, completed, signed and mailed or faxed to the Election Commission office. It cannot be submitted over the internet.
What if I am already a registered voter?
If you are already a permanent registered voter in DeKalb County, your registration does not expire, but an application to vote absentee (Form 76 or a letter as outlined above) must be submitted to the Election Commission office if you want to vote absentee. The form may be mailed to DeKalb County Election Commission, P.O. Box 543, Smithville, TN 37166 or faxed to 615-597-7799.
What if I do not receive my ballot or ruin my ballot and can no longer use it?
If a voter notifies the Election Commission that the ballot is "spoiled" or that the ballot has not been received; the election commission may supply the voter with subsequent voting supplies.
If you feel that there is not sufficient amount of time to receive and then return the voted ballot, you may use the Federal Write-IN Absentee Ballot (FWAB).
To obtain a FWAB see your voting assistance officer or you may print the ballot at http://www.fvap.gov/pubs/ofwab.pdf
For a return ballot envelope: http://www.fvap.gov/pubs/returnenvelope.pdf
Instructions for completing a FWAB may be found at: http://www.fvap.gov/pubs/onlinefwab
If both ballots are received prior to the close of polls on Election Day, only one ballot will be counted. The counting board will count the original official ballot provided by the Election Commission to the voter.