MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - With thousands of absentee ballots now in the mail in Shelby County, voting advocates said following the instructions is critical to making sure your vote gets counted.
The last day to request an absentee ballot from the Shelby County Election Commission is Oct. 27, but Administrator of Election Linda Phillips is advising voters to do it before Oct. 20.
“The earlier you request an absentee ballot, the more likely your vote will count,” said Peg Watkins with the Memphis-Shelby County League of Women Voters, “It is imperative that you follow step-by-step directions.”
The Shelby County Election Commission has prepared a 4-minute long video to walk voters through the process.
Once you’ve submitted a written request to the Shelby County Election Commission, you’ll receive a ballot packet in the mail.
- The ballot must be filled out with a blue or black pen. Voters must darken the entire oval.
- When you are finished, fold the ballot and seal it in the yellow ballot envelope. Do not detach the flap. Anyone who helped you fill out the ballot must sign their name, along with a witness.
- Sign your name on the signature line, making sure your name matches the name on the envelope that has been personalized for you. This can be a common place for errors in a household where multiple voters are casting absentee ballots.
- Place the sealed yellow ballot envelope inside the larger white envelope to be mailed back with a stamp affixed.
Under Tennessee law, absentee ballots must be received by mail on Election Day to be counted. They cannot be dropped off.
“Unlike other states, we don’t have drop boxes. And it is very specific. It must be in by the end of Election Day,” said Watkins.
You can track your ballot through the mailing process in a portal available here from the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office.
You can find information for requesting an absentee ballot in Shelby County by clicking here.