Tennessee mail ballot requests for November start Wednesday

August 5, 2020 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee voters can begin requesting absentee ballots for the November election Wednesday.

In June, a judge ordered that all eligible Tennessee voters would have the option to vote by mail during the coronavirus pandemic. The ruling remains effective, but that could change.

The state appealed the expansion and the Tennessee Supreme Court is deciding whether to keep the wide eligibility. Currently, first-time voters still need to vote in person or show ID at the local election office to vote absentee.

The state usually requires absentee excuses, from being 60 or older to being sick, and planned to allow COVID-19 reasons like testing positive, exposure requiring quarantine, caretaking for someone exposed, and underlying health conditions in the household. Fear of the virus would not be a valid excuse if the expansion is overturned.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 27. The registration deadline is Oct. 5.

In-person early voting begins Oct. 14.