Friday, March 24, 2023

Tennessee’s Voter ID Law: What you’ll need to vote


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Photo by Samantha Hearn // Sidelines Archive

The Tennessee presidential primary election is Tuesday (or Super Tuesday as it’s known nationwide), and since 2011, Tennessee has required voters to present a valid form of photo ID to vote.

These laws can sometimes lead to confusion at polling places, or leaving voters turned away at the polls. But don’t worry, here’s everything you need to know about Tennessee’s voter ID requirements.

What kinds of IDs are accepted when voting?

You can present any of these options: Tennessee driver license, U.S. Passport,  military photo ID,  Tennessee handgun carry permit or any photo ID issued by the federal or Tennessee state governments or the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. Make sure your driver license and handgun permits have your photo on them or they won’t work.

What isn’t accepted as a valid photo ID?

College IDs, employee IDs, library cards and IDs from another state are not acceptable forms of identification when voting.

Do I need to bring my voter registration card, too?

Nope; just bring a valid ID, bu make sure you refer to your registration card for your polling location.

Who’s exempt from presenting ID?

Citizens on assisted living or nursing homes, those with a religious objection to being photographed, or “indigent” people who are unable to pay for documentation required to obtain a free ID are all exempt from presenting ID.

What if you forget you ID when you head to your polling place?

While it’ll be a bit of hassle, you’ll still be able to vote. At your polling place, you can cast your vote using a provisional ballot . You’ll then need to return to your local election commission office with a photo ID within two business days. You’ll then sign an affidavit and have a copy made of your ID. Your information will then be sent to the vote counting board to be finalized.

What if I don’t have a photo ID?

If you don’t have one of the approved IDs, you’re eligible for a free photo ID from the Department of Safety and Homeland Security. To get one, head to one of the participating driver service centers across the state with your birth certificate and two proofs of address, such as a utility bill, bank statement, vehicle title or voter registration card.

What if I can’t afford the documentation needed to get a free ID?

You can sign a legal form stating you’re indigent and unable to afford the necessary documentation to receive a voter ID. You’ll then be eligible to vote.

Have a question that isn’t answered here? Head over to this government site or contact your local election commission.

Follow John Connor Coulston on Twitter at @JCCoulston.

For more news, follow us at, on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines and on Twitter at @Sidelines_News.

To contact News Editor Amanda Freuler, email

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