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Homeless Persons Residency
In order to register to vote in Tennessee, a person does not have to live in a building. Instead, a person who finds himself or herself homeless must describe where the person usually stays or returns to when absent. This location may be the address of a shelter where the person stays or frequents, or it may be the description of a street corner where the person may often rest. A physical description of the location must be given so that the election commission knows in which voting precinct to place the person. T.C.A. 2-2-122.
The election commission must mail voter registration cards to people who register to vote by mail. Therefore, if a homeless person tries to register to vote by mail using an address where the person does not get the mail, the person will have to give a mailing address where he or she can receive mail. For example, a homeless voter may be able to use a shelter as a mailing address or the address of a family member or friend who agrees to receive the mail. Another option is to use General Delivery as a mailing address. However, please note that absentee ballot materials may not be mailed to “general delivery.” T.C.A. 2-2-115 and T.C.A. 2-6-202.
If the voter registration card is returned as undeliverable to the election commission, the voter will be mailed a confirmation notice and placed on inactive status. T.C.A. 2-2-115.
In addition, like all registered voters, a homeless person should let the county election commission know when there are any changes to the mailing address or address where the person is registered to vote.