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How to make sure your absentee ballot arrives on time in Tennessee

With only a few days left to go until Election Day, 10News spoke with Secretary of State Tre Hargett about how to ensure your ballot will count.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — If you haven't mailed your absentee ballot already, it may be too late to stick it in your mailbox. In Tennessee, election commissions may only count ballots received by the close of polls on Election Day.

"Personally, I would take mine to that designated post office," Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett told 10News. "Hand it to somebody behind the counter so they can go ahead and get it in the mail and get it back to the Election Commission."

Secretary Hargett said the state has partnered with the United States Postal Service to offer an expedited delivery option in every county. As long as the ballot is dropped off at the designated location by 3 p.m. on Election Day, it will be counted.

"The United States Postal Service really stepped up," Sec. Hargett said. "They will make sure that ballot gets to the Election Commission in time."

If you live in Knox County, you must leave the mail-in ballot at the Downtown Knoxville postal branch on Main Street, election authorities announced Wednesday.

Several steps must be followed, according to the announcement from administrator Chris Davis. The downtown branch at 501 W. Main St. is the designated drop-off spot.

First, the mail-in ballot must have proper postage.

Second, take it on Election Day to the post office at 501 W. Main St. Entrance to the building is on Walnut Street.

Third, the mail-in ballot must be dropped off by 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3 to ensure it will get delivered to the Election Commission by the close of polls.

The Knox County Election Commission is accepting mail-in ballots returned by U.S. mail, by FedEx or by United Parcel Service, aka UPS, according to Davis.

They cannot be hand-delivered by the voter to a precinct or to the Election Commission.

If you choose not to mail your ballot back, you also have the option of casting a provisional ballot in-person, according to Sec. Hargett.

"If for some reason they changed their mind and don't want to mail that ballot back in, in-person voting is going to be safe, clean and secure," Sec. Hargett said. "They can still do that. They'll need to cast a provisional ballot when they go vote."

According to the Tennessee Secretary of State's Office, here are other locations you must take your mail-in ballot on Election Day, depending on the county you live in:

  • Anderson - Clinton P.O. - 1121 N. Charles Seivers Boulevard
  • Blount - Maryville P.O. - 226 Keller Lane -Maryville
  • Campbell - Jacksboro P.O. - 424 Main St. - Jacksboro
  • Claiborne - Tazewell P.O. - 1710 Main St. - Tazewell
  • Cocke - Newport P.O. - 265 Cosby Highway - Newport
  • Cumberland - Crossville P.O. - 240 Old Jamestown Highway - Crossville
  • Fentress - Jamestown P.O. - 124 North Main St. - Jamestown
  • Grainger - Rutledge P.O. - 7841 Rutledge Pike - Rutledge
  • Hamblen - Morristown P.O. - 803 S. Cumberland Street - Morristown
  • Jefferson - Dandridge P.O. - 1130 Academy Circle - Dandridge
  • Loudon - Loudon P.O. - 100 Green St. - Loudon
  • Monroe - Madisonville P.O. - 161 Warren St. - Madisonville
  • Morgan - Wartburg P.O. - 110 N Maiden St. - Wartburg
  • Roane - Kingston P.O. - 424 N. Kentucky Street - Kingston
  • Scott - Huntsville P.O. - 215 Huntsville Drive - Huntsville
  • Sevier - Sevierville P.O. - 711 Dolly Parton Parkway - Sevierville
  • Union - Maynardville P.O. - 3009 Maynardville Highway - Maynardville

You can find each location on the map below and click on an icon to see its hours.

All mail-in ballots must be received by the close of the polls on Election Day in order to court. Election officials warn, however, that you shouldn't wait that long to get it in. The sooner it's in, the better.