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I put together this quick how-to guide for kids away at college, but it works for anyone living out-of-state whose primary residence is in Tennessee. My son and I have navigated the absentee ballot process, and I want to share this knowledge so that others can forward this to their kids or anyone looking for a quick online guide.

Finding out how to vote absentee in Tennessee can be a bit of a maze. And it requires students to do things they usually don’t do – like print out forms and use the actual mail. Every vote matters in elections, so please share with your kids and anyone interested!

While I have links specifically for Nashville, Williamson County, and Shelby County, I also provide general links for Tennessee.

One caveat to Tennessee’s absentee voting is that you must vote in person for your first election. So, if somebody hasn’t voted yet in person, they can’t do absentee.

4 Steps to Voting Absentee in Tennessee

  • To vote absentee in this election, you must request an absentee ballot and then mail it in.
  • If you haven’t voted before and registered to vote online or by mail, you need to vote in person.

Step 1: Go online to request your absentee ballot application.

  • If your home is in Nashville/Davidson County, click here and then click on the PDF that says “Absentee Ballot Request for November 8, 2022, Election.”
  • If your home is in Williamson County, click here.
  • If your home is in Memphis/Shelby County, click here.
  • If your home is somewhere else in Tennessee, click here.

Step 2: Print out the form, fill it out and sign it.

In the space that asks “where you live” or “home address,” put in your Tennessee home address where you are registered as a voter. Put your college address in the space where the ballot will be mailed.

Step 3: Scan the form with its signature and email it to your local Election Commission by no later than November 1 (but better to do it now).

Step 4: VOTE: Look for your ballot in your mailbox, fill it out, and mail it in

Once you’ve emailed the application, they will mail you a ballot. Follow all the instructions when you fill it out, or your vote may be disqualified. You must mail it (USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.) in time for it to arrive by the close of polls on Election Day, November 8. Do not wait until the last minute, as the mail can be slow. If you request and are sent an absentee ballot, you will be expected to vote absentee.

You have now participated in our democracy!

For more information on absentee voting, go to Civic Tennessee or The League of Women Voters.


Since it’s fall, find out about 8 Haunted Places in Tennessee. Read with the lights ON!

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