FAQs About Voter Photo ID

When will I need to bring a photo ID?

You will need a photo ID to vote at a polling place, whether you vote early or on Election Day.

What forms of photo ID are acceptable?

Any of the following IDs may be used, even if they are expired:

  • Tennessee driver license with your photo
  • United States Passport
  • Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security photo ID
  • Photo ID issued by the federal or Tennessee state government, such as an employee ID from the U.S. Department of Energy with your photo
  • United States Military photo ID, including a Veteran Identification Card
  • Tennessee handgun carry permit card with your photo

Is an expired photo ID acceptable?

Yes, as long as it was validly issued by the federal or Tennessee state government and contains the name and photograph of the voter.

What forms of photo ID are NOT acceptable?

  • College student photo IDs
  • Privately issued photo IDs, such as your discount club or bank card with your photo
  • Photo IDs issued by other states or by county or city governments, including library cards

Is my photo ID acceptable?

If you are unsure or have questions about your photo ID, contact your county election commissionor the Division of Elections at 1-877-850-4959.

Who is exempt?

  • Voters who vote absentee by mail (view requirements here)
  • Voters who are residents in a licensed nursing homes or assisted living centers and who vote at those facilities
  • Voters who are hospitalized
  • Voters with religious objections to being photographed
  • Voters who are indigent and unable to obtain a photo ID without paying a fee

Must poll workers ask all voters for photo ID, even if the poll workers know the voter?

Yes.  Every voter who votes in person will be asked to present a photo ID.

What if I don’t bring a photo ID to the polling place?

If you don’t bring a photo ID, you will vote a provisional ballot.  You will then have two (2) business days after Election Day to return to the election commission office to show a valid photo ID. Upon returning to the election commission office, the voter will sign an affidavit and a copy of the voter’s photo ID will be made to be reviewed by the counting board.

What if I don’t have a photo ID?

You may obtain a free photo ID to vote from the Department of Safety and Homeland Security at any participating driver service center across the state.  You may use the “express service” line at the driver service center to obtain your photo ID to minimize wait times.  Visit the Department of Safety and Homeland Security web site for more information.

Where is my nearest driver service center?

Visit the Department of Safety and Homeland Security web site for information about locations and hours.

What will I need to get a free photo ID from the Department of Safety and Homeland Security?

You will need:

  • Proof of citizenship (such as a birth certificate), and
  • Two proofs of Tennessee residency (such as a voter registration card, a utility bill, vehicleregistration or title, or bank statement).
  • If your name differs from that on your primary ID, proof of the changed name (such as a certified marriage certificate, divorce decree, court order, etc.)

Learn more about the required documents at http://www.tn.gov/safety/photoids.shtml.

I have a driver license, but it doesn’t have a photo.  Can I use it to vote?

No, but if you do not have another form of valid photo ID, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security will reissue your license with your photo for free upon request.

Can I get a free photo ID card even if I have one of the other acceptable forms of photo ID?

No.  If you already have a valid government-issued photo ID for voting purposes, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security will not issue a free photo ID to you.

I can’t afford a copy of my birth certificate, so I can’t get a photo ID.  Can I still vote?

Yes.  If you cannot afford a copy of the documents required to obtain a free photo ID, you may sign a form stating under oath that you are indigent and have been unable to obtain an acceptable photo ID for voting without paying a fee.

How do I register to vote?

Learn how to register and download a registration form here.

Where can I find out more information?