Voter guide: what election commissions can and can't change during COVID-19

Posted at 10:19 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 23:56:28-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The state says if you’re worried about getting COVID-19, that’s not an excuse to ask for a mail-in ballot in this year’s elections.

That’s the guidance this week from the state division of elections and the attorney general.

But changes are happening at the county level to protect you from getting the coronavirus if you plan to vote in August or November. For example, in Nashville and Davidson County, the election commission is opening up more early voting sites throughout the early voting process. All 11 sites will be open on the first day of early voting.

"it can be more sites, expand the time frame beyond what’s required, for how many hours you have to be open," said Nashville election administrator Jeff Roberts.

The Davidson County Election Commission has already sent out mailers with tips on how to vote during COVID-19. They are also including an application if you want to vote by mail — but you need to select a valid reason. The fear of catching COVID doesn’t count. And while there’s currently a lawsuit to allow voters statewide to vote by mail, it’s not something local officials can change.

"There’s not a lot of wiggle room there," Roberts said.

If you are eligible to vote absentee in Nashville, voting officials have to have your signed application with your full social security number by July 30th.