Do You Need an ID? (Most restrictive)

Yes. Tennessee passed a photo ID law in 2011, but tightened the requirements the following year. Voters must now show a photo ID card issued by the state or federal government, which could include a free ID issued by the state. The law clarifies that cards issued by counties or cities, such as library cards, are not acceptable forms of ID.

Without ID, a voter may cast a provisional ballot, which will be counted if he returns within two days either to show an ID or sign an affidavit attesting that he is indigent or has a religious objection to being photographed.

Do You Need an Excuse to Vote Absentee? (Restrictive)

Voters must provide an excuse to mail in an absentee ballot.

What if You Have a Felony Conviction? (Most restrictive)

Felons are prohibited from voting while in prison, on parole and probation, and some are permanently disenfranchised. A 2011 law expanded the list of felons who are permanently disenfranchised to include those who have committed felonies in other states, or who have been convicted in a federal court.

Can You Vote In Person Before Election Day? (Less restrictive)

Voters may go to the polls beginning 20 days before an election. Early voting for presidential primaries ends seven days before Election Day; for all other elections, it ends five days before Election Day.



Absentee Voting Gets Easier

Nearly 17 percent of the U.S. electorate voted by mail in 2012

Voting Early More Often

36 states allow people to vote in person before Election Day

Who Loses the Right to Vote

All but two states have laws that keep felons from voting

Voter ID Laws Gain Momentum

But many are also being challenged in court

Recent Stories

Introducing “Ballot Watch”

Who's allowed to vote? And when? As the November midterms approach, find out how voting laws are changing state-by-state in our interactive database.

Where is Voter Discrimination the Worst?

Voting discrimination persists nationwide, but the worst offenders today are still southern states with a history of blocking minorities' access to the ballot, according to a new study by the National Commission on Voting Rights.

New Voter ID Laws Hit Setbacks

Courts are pushing back against laws in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Shelby decision. Several legal battles are still ahead.