Tennessee adjusts 1st time voter ID rule after court order

October 6, 2020 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee election officials have adjusted rules for when first-time voters who want to vote by mail must provide identifying documents, following action by a federal court last month.

A judge has temporarily halted Tennessee’s requirement that first-time voters vote in person, or show ID at the local election office to vote absentee. The state is appealing the ruling.

Republican Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s website now says voters who registered by mail and who want to vote absentee in their first Tennessee election must submit a copy of their ID when they mail back their absentee ballot. The website says counties will send instructions with absentee ballots.


Various documents count, including a state or federal photo ID, current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows the voter’s name and address.

Some first-time voters are exempt, including: those who registered through the state’s online system; people who sent a copy of their ID with their by-mail registration form; military members, their family and overseas voters; disabled voters with inaccessible polling places; permanent absentee list voters; and victims of domestic abuse, stalking, human trafficking or any sexual offense in an address confidentiality program.