According to the commission, nearly 30,000 absentee ballots were requested; however, only half of them have been returned with votes filled in.
Ballots must be received by mail by the time polls close Aug. 6.
“One first-class ($.55) stamp is all that is needed,” DCEC Administrator of Elections Jeff Roberts said in a July 27 announcement. “We need our absentee voters to mark their ballots, seal them in their signed absentee ballot envelope, and get those ballots in the mail to us now. The post office said to allow 7 days for return, and we’re getting very close to Election Day.”
Tennessee election officials have been expecting a spike in absentee voting this year amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In June, an order from the Davidson County Chancery Court expanded eligibility requirements to allow any registered voter who believes it is “impossible or unreasonable” to vote in person because of ongoing coronavirus concerns to request an absentee ballot.
Commission officials said they have added staff to process last-minute ballots and are encouraging voters to track their ballot online to make sure it is received.
“We’re staying on top of the mountains of mail, but [we] could use some help from our voters,” Roberts said. “They can track their absentee ballots online at Voter Registration Information Lookup. The site is updated daily with the date their ballot was issued and the date their ballot was received in our office. We encourage them to check on the status of their ballot.”