general election

It’s the last day to request absentee ballots for Tennessee election

Tuesday is the last day for voters to request absentee ballots for the Nov. 8 election. Anyone age 60 or older can vote by mail, as can those who will be away from their home county on Election Day. Also still eligible are those who are at a higher risk from COVID-19 and their caretakers, a provision added amid a court fight two years ago. No physician’s statement is required to obtain a coronavirus exemption, according to the Secretary of State’s Office guidelines.

About 12% of votes were cast by mail in August 2020, up from an average of about 1.6% for the state’s nomination contests in the three previous cycles. After a state Supreme Court ruling dialed back eligibility for the ensuing general election, absentee voting made up 7%, compared with an average of 2% for the three previous November elections.

Tennessee sets new voter turnout record

A record number of Tennessee voters cast ballots in this year’s general election.

Here’s a release from Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office with the details:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A record-breaking 3,045,401 Tennesseans, or over 68 percent of active and inactive registered voters, cast ballots in-person during early voting and on Election Day or absentee by-mail in the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Voter turnout and participation handily beat the previous record set during the 2008 presidential election when 2,618,238 cast their ballots.

“For months, our office has worked with election commissions and health officials across the state to ensure that in-person voting was clean, safe and secure,” said Secretary Hargett. “Traditionally, Tennesseans prefer to vote in-person. We’ve said it for months, and yet again, voters showed their confidence in the safety precautions in place and their preference to cast a ballot in-person by showing up in record numbers at the polls.”

Counties must submit certified election results to the Division of Elections by Monday, Nov. 23.

Unofficial election results are available on our website at

“We would not have seen the record numbers of voters have such a smooth voting experience during a pandemic without the months and countless hours of planning by Tennessee’s 95 election commissions, administrators, and staff,” said Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins. “Thanks to the roughly 17,000 poll officials who stepped up to serve their communities and carry out all the planning to provide Tennesseans with a safe and secure in-person voting experience.”

Tennessee also broke the early and absentee by-mail turnout record during the two-week early voting period in this election. A comprehensive report of in-person and absentee by-mail turnout during early voting by county with comparisons to 2016 and 2012 is available on


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