MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If you want to vote, time is running out to register, and if you want to vote by mail, you want to be certain you follow the rules to make sure your vote is counted.
You can register in person, on-line, or through the mail, but your registration has to be postmarked by Oct 5.
Increased absentee balloting is adding a new wrinkle to this election.
“We already have twice as many requests as I would have expected for an entire presidential election four years ago,” said Linda Phillips, Shelby County’s elections administrator.
If you’re voting by mail, she says you should register as soon as possible.
“If you feel uncomfortable voting, you can vote in by mail,” Phillips said. “But, you know, the weak link in that is the postal service, and we actually got back a couple of ballots last week that had been mailed well in advance of the Aug. 6 election.”
Those ballots came in six weeks late, and those votes didn’t count.
“If we don’t have them by 7 p.m. on election day, they don’t count,” Phillips said.
In Arkansas and Tennessee, a mail-in ballot request must be received by Tuesday Oct. 27, although in Arkansas you can request a ballot in person at your county courthouse through Nov. 2.
But all mail-in ballots must be received by the end of election day, Nov. 3.
In Mississippi, you have to request an absentee ballot by Oct. 31. Your completed ballot must be signed by a notary and postmarked by Nov. 3 and received no later than Nov. 10, which means final results from the Magnolia State could be delayed.
If you live in Tennessee and Arkansas and you’re not voting by mail and you cannot vote on election day, you have the option to vote early.
Polls will be open in Tennessee for early voting on Wednesday, Oct. 14 and in Arkansas on Monday, Oct. 19.
Tennessee closes early voting Oct. 29. Arkansas closes Nov. 2. Mississippi’s only early voting option is by mail.