October 5th is the last day for voter registration for anyone intending to vote in the election concluding on November 3rd. Numerous offices will be on the ballot, including the Presidency of the United States. The October 5th deadline holds for registering to vote online and in person. If you register by mail, your mail-in registration form must also be postmarked by Monday, October 5th.
In-person voting: The Shelby County Election Commission offers a link to find your appropriate poll location on its website: shelbyvote.com.
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Early voting: You may also vote early or vote absentee by mail, and there is a genuine debate raging just now over which of these modes is to be preferred. A two-week period for early voting is provided, from Wednesday, October 14, 2020, to Thursday, October 29, 2020. Those who advocate it maintain, like Tennessee Democratic Party chair Mary Mancini, that early voting is "the safest, quickest, and easiest way to cast your vote."
Early voting will be available at locations and during hours that will be posted, in the Flyer and elsewhere, when they are determined by the Election Commission.
Absentee voting: The other mode of voting is by absentee or mail-in ballot, an option whose availability has been extended by judicial action to include persons affected adversely by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The courts have mandated the following conditions will enable voting by mail:
• If an individual has an illness, physical disability or other underlying health condition that makes them especially vulnerable to COVID-19, and who, because of that condition is unable to appear at the polling place and instead wishes to vote absentee.
• If an individual is a caretaker of someone who has a special vulnerability to COVID-19 because he or she is ill, physically disabled, or has an underlying health condition.
• Whether that illness or physical disability creates a special vulnerability should be determined by the voter using guidance from the CDC and common sense as to the voter's other activities in public. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control website for guidance. A voter is not required to submit a physician's statement in support of their determination as to their special vulnerability. A complete checklist of eligibility for absentee voting follows:
• You will be outside Shelby County during the entire early voting period and all day on Election Day.
• You or your spouse are enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university outside Shelby County.
• You reside in a licensed nursing home outside Shelby County.
• You will be unable to vote in person due to service as a juror for a Federal or State court.
• You are 60 years of age or older.
•You have a physical disability and an inaccessible polling location.
• You are hospitalized, ill, or physically disabled and unable to appear at your polling place to vote (this includes persons who have underlying medical or health conditions that in their determination render them more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 or at greater risk should they contract it).
• You are the caretaker of a person who is hospitalized, ill, or disabled (this includes caretakers for persons who have underlying medical or health conditions that in their determination render them more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 or at greater risk should they contract it).
• You are a candidate for office in the election.
• You serve as an Election Day official or as an employee of the Shelby County Election Commission.
• Your observance of a religious holiday prevents you from voting in person during the early voting period and on Election Day.
• You or your spouse possess a valid commercial drivers' license (CDL) or you possess a valid Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) card and certify that you will be working outside Tennessee or Shelby County during the open hours of early voting and Election Day, and have no specific out-of-county or out-of-state address to which mail may be sent or received during such time.
• You are a member of the military or are an overseas citizen.
Note: Under Tennessee law, once you have requested an absentee ballot, you cannot vote in person for that election except by provisional ballot. Applications must be received no later than seven days before the November 3rd election date.