In many states, a photo identification is required for the right to cast a ballot. Tennessee is not one of them.

The first step, of course, is completing the registration process with the Shelby County Election Commission.

Basic requirements of voter registration are:

* U.S. citizenship

* Be at least 18 years of age, on or before the next election date

* Be a resident of Shelby County

* Must not have been convicted of a felony, or if there is such a conviction, voting rights must have been restored.

Also, if there is a Tennessee driver’s license or a Tennessee Department of Safety ID, the online system can be used to register for the first time, or to update a registration. (That web address is:  http://govotetn.com.

After being legally registered to vote, a voter registration card will be issued and mailed to your Shelby County address. When it’s voting day, if a registered voter has neither a photo ID nor a voter registration card, they still are allowed to vote.

“This is probably the best-kept secret in Shelby County,” said Linda Phillips, Shelby County Election Commission Administrator. “Without a photo ID, we can still allow a person to vote. They are asked to sign an affidavit form provided right there at the polling location. We want everyone who desires to vote to have the opportunity to vote.”

The provision using the affidavit eliminates the possibility of any eligible voter being denied the right to vote, simply because there is no photo ID. However, any person needing a photo ID may obtain one issued by the state at no charge.

Still, said Phillips, some people don’t have an ID when they come to the polls.

“For an indigent person, the state will issue a photo ID free of charge. But to obtain the ID, a person would need his or her birth certificate. Sometimes, for whatever reason, a birth certificate is not available. A copy of the birth certificate may be purchased, but sometimes people don’t have the $25. That’s when the affidavit at the polls becomes very important. We don’t want any eligible voter to come to the polls and not be able to cast a ballot, no matter what the reason.”

There are three upcoming elections in Shelby County for 2018. On  Tuesday, May 1, there is the Shelby County Primary Election, with the early voting window open from April 11 to April 26. The purpose of a primary election is for each political party to select its candidates who will run on the general election ballot.

In order to vote in a primary election, the voter must pick a party at that time. Tennessee voters are not required to select a party when they register to vote, unlike some other states. This is called an open primary. A voter is not locked in to one party at the primary and is free to choose the desired affiliation at the time of voting.

On Thursday, Aug. 2, the Shelby County General Election and the Tennessee State Primary Election are scheduled. On Tuesday, Nov. 6, the General Election for state, federal and municipal races will be held.

To request an Absentee Ballot, there must be some special circumstance preventing a voter from actually casting  a ballot in person. Among them are: not being in Shelby County during early voting or Election Day; if a voter or spouse is enrolled in a college or university outside of Shelby County; a voter resides in a skilled nursing facility outside of the county; juror for Federal or State Court; 60 years of age or older; physical disability and an inaccessible polling location; hospitalized or ill; caretaker of a person who is hospitalized or disabled; candidate for office in the election; Election Day official or Shelby County Election Commission employee; observance of a religious holiday during early voting and on Election Day; a commercial driver’s license holder or spouse who will be out of the county during early voting and on Election Day; member of the military or living overseas.

For additional information, go to: www.shelbyvote.com, or call the Shelby County Election Commission at (901) 222-1200.

Election Day: The County Primary will be held on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 between the hours of 7 am and 7pm at various precincts. Early Voting: Begins Wednesday, April 11, 2018 through Thursday, April 26, 2018. Shelby County voters who desire to vote early may go to any of the satellite locations listed below within the hours set for the early voting period.

Downtown Location

Calvary Episcopal Church 102 N. 2nd Street (enter from B.B. King)

9 a.m.-5 p.m.

(DOWNTOWN LOCATION WILL NOT BE OPEN ON SATURDAYS OR SUNDAYS.)

Satellite Locations Address City Zip

Abundant Grace Fellowship Church 1574 E. Shelby Dr. Memphis 38116

Agricenter International 7777 Walnut Grove Rd. Memphis 38120

Anointed Temple of Praise 3939 Riverdale Rd. Memphis 38141

Baker Community Center 7942 Church Rd. Millington 38053

Bellevue Baptist Church 2000 Appling Rd. Cordova 38016

Berclair Church of Christ 4536 Summer Ave. Memphis 38122

Collierville Church of Christ 575 Shelton Dr. Collierville 38017

Dave Wells Community Center 915 Chelsea Ave. Memphis 38107

Ed Rice Community Center 2907 N. Watkins Memphis 38127

Glenview Community Center 1141 S. Barksdale St. Memphis 38114

Greater Lewis Street Baptist Church 152 E. Parkway North Memphis 38104

Greater Middle Baptist Church 4982 Knight Arnold Rd. Memphis 38118

Harmony Church 6740 St. Elmo Rd. Bartlett 38135

Mississippi Blvd. Church-Family Life Center 70 N. Bellevue Boulevard Memphis 38106

Mt. Zion Baptist Church 60 S. Parkway East Memphis 38106

New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church 7786 Poplar Pike Germantown 38138

Raleigh United Methodist Church 3295 Powers Rd. Memphis 38128

Riverside Missionary Baptist Church 3560 S. Third St. Memphis 38109

The Refuge Church 9817 Huff N Puff Rd. Lakeland 38002

White Station Church of Christ 1106 Colonial Rd. Memphis 38117

Satellite Locations are open at the following days and times:

April 11, 2018 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

April 12, 2018 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

April 13, 2018 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

April 14, 2018 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

April 15, 2018 Closed

April 16, 2018 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

April 17, 2018 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

April 18, 2018 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

April 19, 2018 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

April 20, 2018 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

April 21, 2018 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

April 22, 2018 Closed

April 23, 2018 10 a.m. -7 p.m.

April 24, 2018 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

April 25, 2018 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

April 26, 2018 10 a.m.-7 p.m.