Please exercise your right to vote in August Primary

Published 12:21 pm Tuesday, June 16, 2020

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To the Editor:
I am writing to encourage all eligible residents of Carter County to vote in the upcoming August 6 Primary Election. If you are not registered to vote in Tennessee you can register in person with a photo ID at the Carter County Election Commission office located at 116 Holston Ave. in Elizabethton or online at which is the website sponsored by the TN Secretary of State. In order to register as a first time voter, the following qualifications must be met:
1. You must be a U.S. citizen.
2. You must be a resident of Tennessee.
3. You must be at least 18 years old on or before the next election (August 6, 2020).
4. If you have been convicted of a felony, your eligibility to register and vote depends on the crime you were convicted of and the date of your conviction.
If you choose to register to vote online, you must have a TN driver’s license or TN Department of Safety and Homeland Security ID. You can also print the voter registration form from the website and submit it by mail or in person. Online applications, mail in and in person new voter registration must be submitted at least 30 days (July 7) prior to the next election. (August 6). Registrations made by mail must be received by July 7 for eligibility to vote in the August 6 election. The local office will mail the voter’s registration card to the address indicated on the application.
Once you are registered, there are basically three ways to vote: Early voting in person, voting by mail and voting in person on election day. Below is information about each option.
Absentee in person voting which is also known as early voting for the August 6 election begins on July 17 and ends on August 1 at the Carter County Election Commission office at 116 Holston Ave. in Elizabethton. The only requirement to be eligible for early voting is that the voter be registered and have a federal or state issued photo identification. Examples of accepted identification can be a current or expired photo driver’s license, passport, military ID, gun carry permit or VA identification. The hours for early voting are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 9 a.m.-noon on the following three Saturdays: June 18, July 25 and August 1.
Many Carter County residents are eligible to vote by mail. Acceptable reasons for voting by mail are as follows:
1. Being 60 years of age or older.
2. Finding that it is unreasonable to vote in-person due to the COVID-19 situation.
3. Being outside the county during all hours of early voting and before the polls close on Election Day.
4. Being hospitalized, ill or physically disabled and unable to appear at the designated polling place to vote.
5. Being a caretaker of a hospitalized, ill, or disabled person.
6. Being a full-time student or spouse of a full-time student outside this county.
7. Being a resident in a licensed facility, outside the county providing relatively domiciliary care, i.e. nursing home.
8. Being a candidate for office in the election for which application to vote by mail is being made.
9. Observing a religious holiday that prevents you from voting during early voting or on Election Day.
10. Serving as an election official or a member or employee for the election commission of Election Day.
11. Serving on jury duty in state or federal court.
12. Being a voter with a disability and having a polling place that is inaccessible.
13. Having a CDL or TWIC or being the spouse of a person with a CDL or TWIC and being our of the county during early voting and Election Day and having no out of the county address to receive mail during this time. A copy of the CDL or TWIC is required to accompany the absentee by mail ballot request.
14. Being a member of the military, spouse, or dependent.
15. Being an activated National Guard member on state orders
16. Being an overseas citizen and otherwise qualified to vote in Tennessee.
Prior to COVID-19, the local election commission provided voting deputies to facilitate county nursing home residents voting. As of now some nursing homes are not allowing outside contacts within the nursing homes so at this time nursing home residents should contact the facility’s administrator regarding the voting process. Additional questions regarding this process can also be directed to the Carter County Election Commission at 423-542-1822.
To vote by mail, an absentee by mail ballot application must be requested and returned between May 8, 2020 and July 30, 2020. In order to vote absentee by mail, the voter must have voted in person previously or registered to vote in person. The application for the ballot request may be found on-line at This website is sponsored by the TN Secretary of State. The application for an absentee mail ballot can also be requested by phone or picked up at the Election Commission office. The application must be completed and returned in person, mailed, faxed or emailed to the Election Commission office by July 30. The actual mail in ballot will be mailed to the applicant prior to the election and the voter must complete and return the actual mail ballot by mail only to be received before or on August 6. You may also vote on August 6 in person. All regular polling locations are currently scheduled to be opened on August 6 from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. If you are uncertain of your polling location, you may call the local election commission office at 423-542-1822. The state is providing all poll workers with gowns, masks, face shields and gloves along with sanitizer to be used after each use on the machines.
Please exercise your right to vote.

Sara Bowers

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