Early Voting Procedures

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In 1994 the General Assembly passed legislation that adopted an early voting period and amended absentee voting procedures. T.C.A. § 2-6-101 et seq. This act replaced the procedure to vote absentee by personal appearance (T.C.A. § 2-6-109) with an early voting period, which starts 20 days before an election and runs through the fifth day before the election (seventh day if the election is held at he same time as a presidential preference primary), in which any registered voter may vote (although different time periods may apply to municipalities). Upon the request of a municipality holding an election at some time other than the regular August or November election, the county election commission shall establish a satellite voting location within the corporate limits of the municipality. The municipality must pay the costs of the location. T.C.A. § 2-6-103. For early voting the county election commission may choose to use voting machines, paper ballots, or a combination of both. The state coordinator of elections is to promulgate rules for voting machine use, as well as forms for early voter and absentee ballot applications, determining distinguishable colors for each type of envelope. Instead of the state forms, a county election commission may use its own computer-generated forms with the approval of the coordinator of elections. T.C.A. § 2-6-312. Voters who are unable to vote either during the early voting period or on election day may submit an application to vote absentee but must meet the statutory requirements. For specific absentee voting procedures, see T.C.A. § 2-6-101 et seq.