Recent court rulings have created a lot of confusion regarding who can request mail-in ballots and voting in general.
And, as a crucial election approaches, Tennesseans have reached out to WPLN News and Curious Nashville with their pressing questions.
1. From a listener: I’m pregnant and am submitting a request for an absentee ballot due to risk of COVID, but the criteria is unclear as to whether my husband can also request an absentee ballot. His voting in-person still presents a risk to my health (& baby). Does he qualify as a caretaker?
Short answer: Yes.
But, state officials won’t comment on specific cases. When asked, Tennessee Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins said it’s up to the couple to decide if the partner is a caretaker or not.
But, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone pregnant might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, so the partner can vote by mail.
And mind you, you don’t need a physician’s statement to get your ballot.
2. From a listener: Can I vote in person, if I received a mail-in ballot? Does getting a mail-in ballot exclude me from voting in-person? What do I do with my mail-in ballot, if I decide to vote in person?
Yes, you could show up in person and vote a provisional ballot. But, Goins said it’s a bit more complex.
“What I would encourage people to do is once you make your decision to vote by mail, stick to that decision,” Goins said. “But, if there is some type of issue in ballot delivery or you see you are not able to get your ballot back in time to the election commission office, then at that point you can show up and vote a provisional ballot.”
Goins said that in Tennessee, when people request an absentee, the state automatically marks in their system that that person has already voted.
So, if many of them show up in person, Goins said that could create lines and delays on Election Day.
3. How do you know if your absentee ballot has been counted?
Voters can go to the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website and track their ballot. On that website people can also check their voter registration or even register to vote.
The last day to register to vote in Tennessee is Oct. 5.