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Worried about your absentee ballot arriving on time? You can still cast a provisional ballot

Posted at 7:27 AM, Nov 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-03 11:33:21-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Thousands of people are voting absentee today. However, if you are worried that your absentee ballot won't arrive on time, you can still go to a polling place to cast a provisional ballot.

At any polling place, you can ask to cast a provisional ballot. Just explain you are unsure your absentee ballot is set to arrive on time.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization, a provisional ballot is “designed to ensure that all voters have a chance to cast a ballot even if their eligibility to vote is uncertain—are available at polling places in most states on Election Day. After the election, the ballots are investigated to determine if they will be counted.”

Provisional ballots are counted after Election Day.

“You will fill out your ballot but instead of scanning at that moment, your ballot will be folded up and put into an envelope with your name on the outside and the day after the Election, someone like me will get that envelope and pull you up in the computer. If we got your ballot by mail, we do not count the one cast in person but if we did not get your ballot by mail then we count the one cast in person,” Betsy Heckman with Davidson County Election Commission.

Another reason a voter could be given a provisional ballot today is if you don't show up with a valid ID. You'll be given the paper ballot and then have two days to return to the election commission office to show valid photo identification. From there, they will verify.

Every county in Tennessee has a designated post office where absentee voters can drop off their completed ballot. The Tennessee Secretary of State's Office says mail ballots must be delivered by 3 p.m. local time.

Voting today? Here's what you need to know before heading to the polls

Election commission workers busy fielding absentee voter questions

You can watch full election coverage from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on NewsChannel 5+, online and on our streaming platforms including Roku, Fire TV and Apple TV.