'Do your homework': Tennessee election day is here and there's a ton on the ballot

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This year’s midterm elections plus county, state and local races mean 2022 has been busy.


Knox County general elections are Aug. 4. That's the day voters will declare their primary choices in state and federal elections, including Tennessee governor and representatives in Congress.

The general election for those races is Nov. 8.

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There are literally dozens of races on the ballot this time around, so it's important to have your selections ready ahead of time. No phone calls are permitted while voting.

"If you're going to vote, do your homework," said Chris Davis, the Knox County election administrator. "This ballot is long."

Confused? Don't worry, we have you covered. Here is everything to know to vote in the upcoming elections.

Tennessee voter registration deadlines 

The registration date has passed for the August election, but there's still time for the November election. The registration deadline for the fall election is Oct. 11.

Tennessee voter registration rules

In order to register for the upcoming election, voters must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen

  • Be a resident of Tennessee

  • Be at least 18 years old on/or before Aug. 31

  • Not have been convicted of a felony. If so, voting eligibility to register and vote depends upon the crime the person was convicted of and the date of their conviction. Voting rights can also be restored if a convicted person has had their conviction expunged

Can't remember if you're registered? Use the state's lookup tool at tnmap.tn.gov/voterlookup.

How to find your voting district

Trying to figure out your district? Visit kgis.org. Voters can also use the map to identify their polling place if they plan to vote in person.

How to register to vote online

Tennessee offers online voter registration at ovr.govote.tn.gov. Fill out the request form, review your answers and submit to apply. The election commission will mail you a voter registration card when your application has been accepted.

You must submit your online application at least 30 days prior to an election to vote in that election.

How to register by mail

Registration can also be completed by mail for Tennessee voters. Knox County residents trying to register can print the Voters Registration Application, complete the form and mail it to the Knox County Election commission:

Mail applications must be postmarked at least 30 days prior to an election to vote in that election.

How to vote early before the Nov. 8 election

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Mark your calendars: Early voting for the state general and federal elections begins Oct. 19 and ends Nov. 3.

For a full list of dates and deadlines, visit Tennessee’s elections calendar sos.tn.gov/elections/calendar.

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Voting by mail

Voters unable to visit the polls in person may request an absentee ballot, but must do so by Nov. 1 for the fall election (but you really should allow more time, just in case). To find out if you meet the requirements for an absentee ballot request, visit sos.tn.gov/products/elections/absentee-voting.

Those who qualify to vote by mail can send their absentee requests by mail, fax or email. Knox County residents should address their requests to:

The fax number is 865-215-4239. Email requests can be sent to absenteeballot@knoxcounty.org.

For the absentee voting application, visit knoxcounty.org/election/pdfs/AbsenteeBallotApplication.pdf.

Voting on Election Day

Voters must go to the polling place listed on their registration if they choose to vote on Election Day. Voters can check their polling location by visiting tnmap.tn.gov/voterlookup or the KGIS Voting Location Search.

Election day polling locations are not the same as early voting locations, so voters should check their polling place beforehand.

Voters must have a valid form of identification with them before arriving at their polling locations. Acceptable forms of identification include:

  • Tennessee driver's license with your photo

  • U.S. passport

  • Photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security

  • Photo ID issued by the federal or Tennessee state government

  • U.S. military photo ID

  • Tennessee handgun carry permit with your photo

Voting is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at all election day sites.

Who will be on the ballot?

Voters can view the full candidate list for Knox County elections at knoxcounty.org/election/index.php.

The August election serves two purposes: determining the winners of county races and determining the primary candidates for gubernatorial, state legislative and congressional races. There's a lot going on. It's smart to study up so you can cast your ballot efficiently.

Voters will be asked which primary they'd like to vote in, Republican or Democrat. You do not have to be registered with a party. Anyone can select either ballot.

Those who choose not to select a partisan primary ballot will be handed a ballot that lists just the county general races plus questions on judge retentions.

Early voting is open, and voters can choose between a Democratic or Republican ballot. Those who opt not to select a party will receive a ballot that only lists county general races plus judicial retention questions.
Early voting is open, and voters can choose between a Democratic or Republican ballot. Those who opt not to select a party will receive a ballot that only lists county general races plus judicial retention questions.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Aug. 4 election: Tennessee deadlines and how to vote