The Look in Brief

Early voting is underway: Here’s what you need to know about how to cast your ballot in Tennessee

By: - July 19, 2022 7:00 am
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Tennessee’s early voting season is underway ahead of the August 4 primary election, which features each party’s candidates for governor, the state Legislature and Congress — along with five open seats on the Tennessee Supreme Court.

The midterm elections in some of Tennessee’s 95 counties also include races for district attorney, local judges and ballot referenda.

Governor’s race: Gov. Bill Lee is running unopposed in the GOP primary, while three Democratic candidates are vying for their party’s nomination for governor. They are Jason Martin, a physician, JB Smiley Jr, a Memphis councilmember and Carnita Atwater, a community advocate.

Congress:  In Nashville, incumbent U.S. House Rep. Jim Cooper’s decision to not seek reelection has opened the door for nine candidates in the race. Among the Republicans vying for the seat: former state House Speaker Beth Harwell, Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles and Tennessee National Guard Brig. Gen. Kurt Winstead.

State Sen. Heidi Campbell is the sole Democratic candidate running in the primary.

In Memphis, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democratic, and David Kustoff, also representing Memphis and West Tennessee as a Republican, and Chuck Fleischmann, an East Tennessee Republican, all face challengers this year.

Five Congressmen are running unopposed in the primary. U.S. Reps. Diana Harshbarger, Tim Burchett, Scott DesJarlais, John Rose and Mark Green.

State Legislature:
All of Tennessee’s 99 House seats are up for election this year. In the state Senate, 17 of 33 seats are on the ballot.

Here’s what you need to know about how you can cast your ballot in the upcoming midterm elections:

Early voting: 

Early voting began Friday, July 15 and continues through Saturday, July 30.  To find your early voting polling location visit GoVoteTN.

If you haven’t yet registered to vote, you are out of luck for the August primary (the deadline was July 5), but you still have time to register before the November election. That voter registration deadline is October 11.  You can register to vote online here. You’ll need a driver’s license or state-issued ID.

Not sure if you’re registered? Visit here to check your status.

Early voting has the same requirements as Election Day: Bring a valid photo ID to the polls. A driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, by Tennessee state government or by the federal government “are acceptable even if they are expired,” according to the Secretary of State. College student IDs are not acceptable.

Voting absentee by mail? Here are the rules:

First, absentee voting in Tennessee requires a reason. Some of the acceptable reasons are that you are 60 and older, live in a nursing home or are serving in the military. For a full list of absentee ballot qualifying reasons, check in here.

Deadlines: You may request an absentee ballot no later than 7 days before the election. This year that deadline is July 28.. Obtain an absentee ballot at your local county election commission office or online.

Election officials are noting that mailing in the absentee ballots this year requires two stamps, not one.

You must return your ballot in time for your election commission to receive it no later than the close of polls on Election Day, which is Thursday, August 4. Hand delivery during early voting or on Election Day is not permitted.

For a full list of state rules and guidance over the upcoming election, visit the Tennessee Secretary of State’s August 4 Election Information website.








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Anita Wadhwani
Anita Wadhwani

Anita Wadhwani is a senior reporter for the Tennessee Lookout. The Tennessee AP Broadcasters and Media (TAPME) named her Journalist of the Year in 2019 as well as giving her the Malcolm Law Award for Investigative Journalism. Wadhwani is formerly an investigative reporter with The Tennessean who focused on the impact of public policies on the people and places across Tennessee.