Early voting for the Nov. 3 presidential election officially begins today, Oct. 14, in Tennessee.

For the next two weeks, Tennesseans will be able to cast their ballot, beating out anticipated Election Day crowds while still getting their voices heard.

In Coffee County, Elections Administrator Andy Farrar is encouraging all registered voters to “take advantage” of the early voting period in order to cast their ballots.

There are two early voting locations in Coffee County – one in Tullahoma and one in Manchester. The Tullahoma early voting location is C.D. Stamps Community Center, located at 810 S. Jackson St. In Manchester, ballots may be cast at the Coffee County Election Commission Office, located at 1329 McArthur St.

Farrar told The News that both early voting locations will be set up with social distancing guidelines in mind in order to keep all voters safe when they come to cast their ballot.

Polling booths will be spaced out accordingly, and individual stylus pens will again be given to each voter in order to sign the required documents and to select their choices on the voting machines.

“Every station will be distanced by at least six feet,” Farrar said.

By utilizing the early voting period, voters can ensure their safety to the best that they can, as some Election Day precincts are not large enough to ensure social distancing guidelines.

Farrar said the election commission has even added poll workers for early voting in order to accommodate the anticipated increased turnout.

According to Farrar, that increased turnout also translates to the number of absentee ballot requests that his office has received.

As of Thursday, Oct. 8, Farrar said more than 1,000 voters in Coffee County – 1,045, in fact – requested an absentee ballot for the Nov. 3 election, and 552 of them had been returned to the election commission.

In the 2016 presidential election, only 462 absentee ballot requests were received and 410 completed ballots returned. In the March 2020 elections, 123 absentee ballots were requested and 107 were returned. In August, there were 632 requested absentee ballots and 621 returned.

Polls will be open at the election commission from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday. C. D. Stamps Community Center hours will be from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Both early voting locations will be open until 5 p.m. Oct. 27, 28 and 29, according to Farrar.

All voters will need to present a photo ID when they vote. Accepted forms of photo ID – even if they are expired – include:

  • A Tennessee driver license with your photo
  • United States Passport
  • Photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
  • Photo ID issued by the federal of Tennessee state government
  • United States Military photo ID
  • Tennessee handgun carry permit with your photo

College student IDs and photo IDs not issued by the federal or Tennessee state government are not acceptable. This includes county- or city-issued photos IDs, including library cards or photo IDs issued by other states.

Staff Writer

Erin McCullough has won awards for her news reporting, community lifestyles and education reporting in the three years she's been a journalist. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and currently lives in Tullahoma with her cat, Luna.

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