Tennessee voting issues

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Election and registration information

Voter ID Requirements

Identification Requirements for First-Time Voters That Registered by Mail ANY ONE of the following items:

  • A PHOTO ID which includes the voter’s name and signature

If the voter has NONE of the above items, he/she will still be able to vote if they have any one item from Column A PLUS any one item from Column B.

Column A: Show ANY ONE of the following:

  • Current & valid photo I.D. of any kind, either government- issued or private, not containing a voter’s signature


  • Current utility bill


  • Bank statement


  • Government check


  • Paycheck


  • ANY OTHER government document(s) that show the voter’s NAME and ADDRESS.

Column B: Do EITHER ONE of the following:

  • Show ANY document with the voter’s NAME and SIGNATURE (Examples: Social security card, credit card with a signature, any other document which has the voter’s name and signature.)


  • SIGN an official AFFIDAVIT OF IDENTITY form provided by the polling place officials

Voting machines

2008 election

For the 2008 election Tennessee used the following voting machines. For a county-by-county list of the specific machines (and the source for this section) see Verified Voting's Verifier tool.

Main article: Voting machines

Direct-Recording Electronic (DRE) machines without a paper trail:

Direct-Recording Electronic (DRE) machines with a paper trail:

Optical scan machines:

Governmental election authorities

Tennessee Department of State Division of Elections

Contact information:

  • 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue
  • 9th Floor, Snodgrass Tower
  • Nashville, TN 37243-1102
  • Phone: (615) 741-7956

email: tennessee.elections@state.tn.us

Election threats

  • For an extensive log of voting machine problems, see the VotersUnite! report on election incidents.[1]

Felon voting rights

Quoting from an October, 2008 report[2] on "de facto disenfranchisement" (summary)(download PDF) co-published by the Brennan Center for Justice and the ACLU:

"Tennessee law is particularly complicated because eligibility depends on the year of conviction as well as the type of offense. Depending on these factors, some people never regain the right to vote, while others do only after satisfying a series of requirements that make them eligible to apply for what is known as a “Certificate of Restoration,” a prerequisite to registering to vote. Interviews conducted in 2007 revealed that 63% of local election officials interviewed could not provide the specific years and offenses that would permanently disenfranchise individuals. In addition, not one of the 95 election officials interviewed was able to list the four key requirements that individuals must satisfy before they can apply for a Certificate of Restoration."

"[I]ndividuals with out-of-state or federal felony convictions can vote if their voting rights were restored in another state or if they meet the Tennessee requirements. However, in interviews in 2007, 90% of local officials failed to respond correctly regarding the voting eligibility of a person convicted of a federal felony. More specifically, 54% of officials did not mention any specific restriction, 27% cited one or two of the five restrictions, and 9% stated they did not know the answer. Seventy-five percent of the Tennessee officials provided incorrect answers regarding the voter eligibility of a person convicted of felony in another state."

"A recurrent problem was the refusal or unwillingness of election officials to answer basic questions about the state election law.[...]Some interviewers received some deeply troubling responses from officials. In Tennessee, six county election officials indicated that they would not offer assistance, either directly or through a referral, to a formerly incarcerated individual having difficulty obtaining the Certificate of Restoration required to restore voting rights. One Tennessee official said individuals with felony convictions “shouldn’t be allowed to vote.” Another said, “not if I can catch them.” And another stated, “I uphold the good people, and criminals can take care of themselves. . . I’m not going go bend over backwards to help a felon.”"

Main article: Felon disenfranchisement

State and local non-governmental election organizations

Gathering to Save Our Democracy

Website: http://votesafetn.org

Description[3]: We are a grassroots group of Tennessee citizens who are working to ensure that all elections are transparent and verifiable.

League of Women Voters

LWV of Tennessee, Ms. Judy Poulson, President

  • PO Box 158369
  • Nashville, TN 37215-8369
  • Phone: 615-297-7134
  • Fax: 615-385-2157
  • E-mail: lwvtn@comcast.net
  • http://www.lwv-tn.org/

Local Leagues:

Articles and resources

See also


  1. See the VotersUnite! Election Problem Log.
  2. Erika Wood and Rachel Bloom,De Facto Disenfranchisement, Brennan Center for Justice and American Civil Liberties Union, October 21, 2008.
  3. From Who We Are page. Retrieved November 21, 2008.

External resources

Poll location

Election Protection hotlines

Voting information

Voting rights

Voting requirements

Election officials, election reform groups, and elected officials

Absentee voting

Disabled voters

Student voting rights

State ballot

  • See how organizations you trust recommend you vote on ballot measures and other statewide contests at TransparentDemocracy.


  • Help in other languages from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. 中文, 日本語, 한국어, Tagalog, Tiếng Việt, Español

Voting machines

Election law

Disability-related voting assistance

Disability Law & Advocacy Center of Tennessee is sponsoring a toll-free hotline for individuals with disabilities who encounter disability related problems at Tennessee polling locations during early voting or on Election Day. The hotline will be open from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. CST each Monday through Friday during early voting (October 15, 2008-October 30, 2008), and 7 a.m.-7 p.m. CST on Election Day (Tuesday, November 4, 2008). The hotline is set up to receive both voice and TTY calls. Voters in the Nashville area can contact (615) 298-1080 (TTY: (615) 298-2471) and voters throughout the rest of Tennessee can call toll-free 1-800-287-9636 (TTY: 1-888-852-2852).[1]

External articles

  1. From a news report, Election Day Help Available For Voters With Disabilities, MyEyewitnessNews.com, October 15, 2008.