Make sure you vote counts in November

Published 3:49 pm Friday, August 21, 2020

It turns out people will actually vote if you make it really, really easy for them.
And judging by how enthusiastically voters participated in the August election, they like the convenience of voting early and by mail.
With Tennessee seeing spikes in coronavirus cases due to the reopening of its economy, and with many health officials predicting a double health whammy in the fall when the COVID pandemic meets the annual flu season, it’s going to be more imperative from a safety standpoint that Tennessee have a reliable and trustworthy voting system in place for people who don’t want to risk voting in person in the presidential election.
Voters should prepare now to vote in the presidential election on Nov. 3. Tennesseans should make sure their voter registration is up-to-date and make decisions about whether they will vote in-person or absentee by-mail if eligible.
Tennessee’s generous early voting period starts Oct. 14 and lasts until Oct. 29.
Voters who choose to vote in-person during early voting or on Election Day will see the same precautions used during the August election. Voters will experience precautions taken such as single-use pens, disposable stylus to select their candidate and sanitizer at the polling location.
For voters, voting absentee by-mail, county election commissions will start mailing out ballots in September. Election officials are currently taking steps to finalize the November ballot, including certifying August election results as well as waiting on both major parties to officially confirm their presidential nominees.
In Tennessee, voters must have a legal reason listed in the law to be eligible to vote absentee by-mail. Some of the most common legal reasons are voters who are 60 or older and voters who will be out of their counties during the election.
Eligible voters who have a special vulnerability to COVID-19 due to an underlying illness, physical disability, or other health condition and who cannot appear at the polling place on Election Day due to this condition may vote by absentee ballot under the “illness or physical disability” reason. Likewise, eligible voters who are caretakers to individuals with a special vulnerability may vote by absentee ballot under the “caretaker” reason.
Voters should consult trusted guidance from medical experts and use common sense in determining whether they have a special vulnerability. The CDC provides a website with helpful information that voters may wish to consult.
Absentee by-mail ballots must be returned by-mail. This includes the U.S. Postal Service and services like FedEx and UPS. Each state is different when it comes to election law. Tennessee law does not permit voters to turn in their ballots in-person or for the use of drop boxes.
Make sure your vote counts. If you can’t do it in person on Election Day, plan to vote early or by mail.

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