NEWPORT—Now is the time to request an absentee by-mail ballot for the November election if you plan to apply to vote by-mail.

The Cocke County Election Commission office is mailing ballots daily. Those who have already received a ballot may go ahead and mark and mail the ballot to the election commission now or any time before Election Day.

In order to receive a by-mail ballot, qualified voters must first sign and submit an application. Applications to vote by-mail are available online at CockeCountyElection.org or GoVoteTN.com. Voters may also call the election office at 423-623-2042 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. through 4 p.m. and ask for an application to be mailed to them.

The last day for the election commission office to receive an application to vote by-mail is October 27, but the election commission does not recommend that anyone wait that late to turn in a voting by-mail application. Applications should be requested and turned in as soon as possible so that the voter has plenty of time to receive, mark, and return their ballot by U.S. Mail.

Once a voter receives a by-mail ballot, the voter may not show up at the Early Voting Site or on Election Day and vote on a voting machine during this election. A provisional ballot would be offered to any absentee by-mail voter who showed up at the polling place. By-mail ballots cannot be dropped off of at the Early Voting Site, cannot be dropped off at the Election Commission office, and cannot be dropped off at a polling place on Election Day. By law, the ballot must be mailed. There are no ballot drop-boxes in Tennessee.

Ballots must arrive through the mail at the Cocke County Election Commission office by Election Night November 3 at 8 p.m. in order to be counted.

There are 13 categories of eligibility for voting by-mail. For example, anyone age 60 or older may apply to vote by-mail. Those persons who are disabled, sick, or those who are caretakers of the sick, regardless of age, may apply to vote by-mail.

This includes persons who have underlying medical or health conditions which in their determination render them more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 or at greater risk should they contract it and caretakers of such persons.

Another popular category for voting by-mail is for the voter who will be out of town during Early Voting and on Election Day. To see a complete list of eligible reasons to vote by-mail, visit GoVoteTN.com or call the Cocke County Election Commission office.

The Cocke County Election Commission office thanks the United States Postal Service, including all post offices in Cocke County and the regional center in Knoxville, for their dedication to the absentee by-mail voting process.

For all other voters who plan to vote in-person, Early Voting begins October 14 at 137 Western Plaza Way in Newport.

The voter registration deadline is Monday, October 5.

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