2015 Tennessee Code
Title 2 - Elections
Chapter 6 - Absentee Voting
Part 2 - Absentee Voting
§ 2-6-202 - Voting absentee -- Applications -- Ballots.
(a) (1) A voter who desires to vote absentee shall request an absentee ballot not more than ninety (90) and not later than seven (7) days before the election;
(2) A voter who will be outside of the state on election day and during the period established for early voting may complete an application to vote absentee at the voter's county election commission office;
(3) A voter may also request from the county election commission office an application to vote absentee. A voter may make the request or submit an application to vote by mail, facsimile transmission or e-mail with an attached document that includes a scanned signature. For a voter to use a facsimile transmission, an election commission shall have a facsimile machine physically located in the election commission office. The request shall be in writing over the voter's signature. The request serves as an application for a ballot if the request contains the following information:
(A) The name of the registered voter;
(B) The address of the voter's residence;
(C) The voter's date of birth;
(D) The voter's social security number;
(E) The address to mail the ballot outside the county, except as provided in § 2-6-201(9);
(F) The election the voter wishes to participate in; and
(G) The reason the voter wishes to vote absentee.
(4) This subsection (a) does not and may not be construed to require a county election commission to purchase or obtain a facsimile machine.
(b) Upon receipt of a written request, the administrator of elections shall compare the signature of the voter with the signature on the voter's registration record in whatever form. If the signatures are the same and if the required information is provided, the administrator shall mail the voter a ballot in accordance with subsection (d). If the signatures are not the same, the administrator shall reject the application or request. If the required information is not provided, the administrator shall send the voter by mail or facsimile an application for a ballot.
(c) (1) The coordinator of elections shall either supply to a county election commission the forms for applications for ballots or approve the usage of a county's forms.
(2) The election commission shall furnish only one (1) application for absentee voting or one (1) set of absentee voting supplies to any voter unless the voter notifies the commission that the voter has spoiled the application or notifies the commission that the voter has not received the application or voting supplies. If so, the commission shall supply the voter with a subsequent application or supplies. The commission shall note on the records that a subsequent application or supplies have been sent.
(3) A person who is not an employee of an election commission commits a Class E felony if such person gives an application for an absentee ballot to any person.
(4) A person who is not an employee of an election commission commits a Class A misdemeanor if such person gives an unsolicited request for application for absentee ballot to any person.
(5) Unless otherwise required by federal law, the county election commission shall retain a spoiled application for a ballot for six (6) months.
(6) Any information regarding absentee requests and applications shall be confidential and not subject to the open records law, compiled in title 10, chapter 7, until the end of the early voting period.
(d) (1) Upon receipt of a completed application, the administrator shall verify the signature of the voter by comparing it with the signature on the voter's registration record in whatever form. The administrator shall make a determination whether the voter's address is different from the address on the voter's permanent registration record or if the registration is in inactive status. If the voter has changed residence, or the voter's registration is inactive, the administrator shall follow the procedures for voting pursuant to § 2-7-140. If the administrator determines that the voter may vote absentee, the administrator shall record the ballot number on the voter's application to vote and mail the voter the following:
(B) One (1) absentee ballot or one (1) primary absentee ballot, or both;
(C) One (1) absentee ballot envelope for each election in which the voter will vote; and
(D) A larger envelope, unsealed, which shall bear upon its face the name and address of the county election commission to which the voter shall mail the completed materials.
(2) An administrator may not mail any of the materials with the address "general delivery."
(3) An administrator may not process an application for a ballot received after the seventh day before an election.
(e) After receiving the absentee voting supplies and completing the ballot, the voter shall sign the appropriate affidavit under penalty of perjury. The effect of the signature is to verify the information as true and correct and that the voter is eligible to vote in the election. The voter shall then mail the ballot.
(f) The election commission shall furnish only one (1) set of absentee voting supplies to any voter unless the voter notifies the commission that the voter has spoiled the supplies or notifies the commission that the voter has not received the supplies. If so, the commission shall supply the voter with a subsequent set of supplies. The commission shall note on the records that subsequent supplies have been sent. Unless otherwise required by federal law, the county election commission shall retain a spoiled ballot for six (6) months.
(g) Upon receipt by mail of the absentee ballot, the administrator shall open only the outer envelope and compare the voter's signature on the application with the voter's signature on the appropriate registration record. Upon determining that the voter is entitled to vote, the administrator shall note on the voter's absentee ballot envelope that the voter's signature has been verified. This signature verification is the final verification necessary before the counting board counts the ballots. The administrator shall also record that the voter has voted absentee in the election and in every case, including those counties in which computerized duplicate registration records are used, shall record the voter's name on the absentee poll book for each election in which the voter voted. In those counties in which computerized duplicate registration records are used, the administrator shall update the voter's computerized voter history by making the appropriate data entry. The administrator shall then immediately deposit the absentee ballot envelope in the general election absentee ballot box or in the party's primary absentee ballot box as the case may be.
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