Everything you need to know to #GoVoteTN Tuesday

Tennessee voter's 2016 general election guide

(WOOD file)
(WOOD file)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Are you ready for the General Election?

We’ve compiled this helpful information from the Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett.

What is the General Election?

A General Election is held in November of every even-numbered year. The 2016 General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 8. In the General Election, all registered voters, regardless of party affiliation or no party affiliation, may exercise their right to vote for federal and state races, judicial retention and statewide proposed constitutional amendments on the General Election ballot, including for the office of U.S. President, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, State Senator and State Representative. In addition, voters may vote in county and local-level races and local referendums.

Sample ballots:

Election Day deals, freebies for voters

How can I vote in the General Election?

All registered voters can vote on election day. Polling locations and times change depending on where your polling place is.

More: Click here to find your polling place or check the status of your registration

When do the polls open in Tennessee?

All polls close at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time and 7:00 p.m. Central Time. Voters are encouraged to arrive early to avoid long lines.

More: Check when your polling location opens here

What ID is required to vote?

All voters must present a federal or Tennessee state ID containing the voter’s name and photograph when voting at the polls, whether voting early or on Election Day unless an exemption below applies. The information on this website is provided to ensure that all Tennessee voters have access to information about the law.

What IDs are acceptable?

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

What IDs are not acceptable?

College student IDs and photo IDs not issued by the federal or Tennessee state government are NOT acceptable. This includes county or city issued photo IDs, such as library cards, and photo IDs issued by other states.

Who is exempt?

  • Voters who vote absentee by mail (view requirements here)
  • 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

What if I registered by mail and am voting in my first election?

Federal law requires first time voters who register by mail to present one of the following:

  • A 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 or other government document that shows the voter’s name and address.

Is an expired photo ID acceptable?

Yes, as long as it was validly issued by the federal or Tennessee state government and contains the name and photograph of the voter.

Is my photo ID acceptable?

If you are unsure or have questions about your photo ID, contact your county election commission or the Division of Elections at 1-877-850-4959.

What if I don’t bring a photo ID to the polling place?

If you don’t bring a photo ID, you will vote a provisional ballot.  You will then have two (2) business days after Election Day to return to the election commission office to show a valid photo ID. Upon returning to the election commission office, the voter will sign an affidavit and a copy of the voter’s photo ID will be made to be reviewed by the counting board.

What if I don’t have a photo ID?

You may obtain a free photo ID to vote from the Department of Safety and Homeland Security at any participating driver service center across the state.  You may use the “express service” line at the driver service center to obtain your photo ID to minimize wait times.  Visit the Department of Safety and Homeland Security web site for more information.

Where is my nearest driver service center?

Visit the Department of Safety and Homeland Security web site for information about locations and hours.

What will I need to get a free photo ID from the Department of Safety and Homeland Security?

You will need:

  • Proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate), and
  • Two proofs of Tennessee residency (such as a voter registration card, a utility bill, vehicle registration or title, or bank statement).
  • If your name differs from that on your primary ID, proof of the changed name (such as a certified marriage certificate, divorce decree, court order, etc.)

I have a driver license, but it doesn’t have a photo.  Can I use it to vote?

No, but if you do not have another form of valid photo ID, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security will reissue your license with your photo for free upon request.

Can I get a free photo ID card even if I have one of the other acceptable forms of photo ID?

No.  If you already have a valid government-issued photo ID for voting purposes, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security will not issue a free photo ID to you.

I can’t afford a copy of my birth certificate, so I can’t get a photo ID.  Can I still vote?

Yes.  If you cannot afford a copy of the documents required to obtain a free photo ID, you may sign a form stating under oath that you are indigent and have been unable to obtain an acceptable photo ID for voting without paying a fee.

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