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Absentee Voting in COVID-19

Story by: Kristi Jones, MTN Reporter

September 16, 2020

With the Election being just two months away and having COVID-19 cases still in the community, voting may look different than in past elections. 


Voting booths in Rutherford County and all over Tennessee have put in place many new safety precautions and guidelines. At all voting polls in Tennessee, gowns and gloves will be worn by poll officials. Every polling station will be placed six feet apart and be equipped with hand sanitizer for every voter. All voters will receive single use pens, popsicle sticks, coffee stirrers, gloves or any other type of stylus to keep all voting systems hands free, according to the Tennessee Secretary of State. 


During the 2016 elections, only 26,913 adults from the age of 18-24 were registered to vote, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Only 55.3% of those registered voters actually voted. That is 39.4% of the entire population of the age range. That is the lowest amount of voter turnout across all age demographics with the highest being age 65-74 just being ages 75 and older. 


The deadline to register to vote is October 5. To register to vote online, please go to https://web.go-vote-tn.elections.tn.gov/


Most college students are not in their hometown to vote, but absentee ballots are still available to be requested. In order to vote via absentee ballot, you must fall under certain criteria. 


Some valid reasons for getting absentee voting is not limited to the following:

  • You or your spouse are a full-time student in an accredited college or university outside the county where you are registered.

  • You will be outside the county where you are registered during the early voting period and all day on Election Day.

  • You are a member of the military or are an overseas citizen.

  • You will be unable to vote in-person due to jury duty.

To request an absentee ballot, fill out the form here: absentee ballot request form


The deadline to submit an absentee ballot request form is October 27. Once you are approved and sent your ballot, it must be received by mail to the county election commission no later than November 3 at the time that the polls close. To track your absentee ballot after it has been sent to your county election commissioner, visti https://tnmap.tn.gov/voterlookup/.


For more information revolving around your polling station and the upcoming election, please visit https://sos.tn.gov/products/elections/2020-election-calendar


Photo by Kristi Jones.

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