Voter Eligibility & Identification

Do you have questions about if you are eligible to vote?  Here are the simple guidelines for voting in Tennessee.

Voter Eligibility

To be eligible to vote in Tennessee, you must meet each of these eligibility requirements. Tenn. Code Ann. § 2–2–102.

  1. be a citizen of the United States
  2. be 18 or older on or before the date of the next election
  3. be a resident of Tennessee
  4. not have a felony conviction (unless your voting rights have been restored)

If you are presently under 18 years old, but you will turn 18 years old on the day of the next election or before, you can register to vote.

You must be registered to vote at least 30 days before the next election in order to vote in that election.  The Election Commission must receive your voter registration application 30 days before the upcoming election (unless the 30th day is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday). Tenn. Code Ann. § 2–2–109(a)–(b).

Voter Identification

All voters must bring at least one appropriate photo identification to the voting location. Tenn. Code Ann. § 2–7–112(c) permits the following types of identification:

  1. A Tennessee driver license
  2. A valid, state issued photo identification card issued pursuant to § 55-50-336.
  3. A valid United States passport
  4. A valid employee identification card issued by the state of Tennessee, or the United States where authorized by law to issue employee identification; provided, that such identification card contains a photograph of the voter
  5. A valid United States military identification card; provided that such identification card contains a photograph of the voter
  6. An employee identification card for retired state employees authorized pursuant to § 8-50-118

Identification issued by another state; issued by a city, county, or college; or non-photo identification will not meet the photo identification requirements.

There are limited instances where you may not need to have a photo identification; however, those instances are extremely rare.  The Tennessee Secretary of State lists the following exemptions to the voter identification requirement:

  • Voters who vote absentee by mail
  • 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

Unless this is your first time voting and you registered to vote by mail, then you may use an expired photo identification if it would otherwise be acceptable under Tenn. Code Ann. § 2–7–112(c).

If you have a question about appropriate identification, call the Tennessee Secretary of State Division of Elections at 1-877-850-4953 or the Knox County Election Commission at 865-215-2480.  If after calling those numbers you still have unresolved questions about what identification you need to vote, please call the Knox County Democratic Party at 865-540-4001 and one of our Voter Services Committee Members will contact you


This website is provided as a courtesy by the Knox County Democratic Party. It is not meant to give legal advice; instead, this website simply provides a summary and reference point for laws addressing Tennessee elections. Voting laws are subject to change. Only a licensed attorney may provide legal advice.


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