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Get absentee ballot requests in early says Tennessee election administrator

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There’s a message from county election administrators like the one in Nashville – If you want to vote absentee, get your request in early.

COVID-19 created record requests for absentee ballots in the August primary and the November election is expected to be no different.

“There is nothing like getting your ballot request in early, that way we can respond as soon as we have the ballots printed,” said Davidson County Elections Administrator Jeff Roberts.

He thinks it’s another few weeks before ballots are printed and voters can start getting requested absentee ballots by mail. “Mid-September is when I would start looking in my mailbox.”

The list of things in Tennessee that allows you to vote absentee no longer includes COVID-19 specifically as a reason like it did during the August primary, but there’s plenty of other reasons listed on county election websites concerning COVID-19, such as being hospitalized, ill, or physically disabled.

“If you have any of the underlying conditions on the CDC website that would qualify for COVID you just check ill if you have an underlying medical condition,” said Roberts.

And if you worry about the mail for absentee ballots, it’s another reason to get in requests right now the election administrator said. “I feel very confident it can make it back and forth in a month and a half.”

For procrastinators, absentee ballot requests must be received at local election commissions by October 27.

For November, absentee ballots must be received at county election commissions by the day of the general election on November 3.