Tennessee Code Title 2. Elections § 2-6-304

(a)(1) The absentee ballot counting board shall unlock and open each ballot box in the presence of a majority of the judges and break the seals upon verification that the numbers are the same.  All of the sealed absentee ballot envelopes with attached affidavits and early voting ballots shall be removed from the respective ballot boxes.  If there is no challenge to a ballot, the counting board shall tear the affidavit from the absentee ballot envelope leaving the envelope sealed.  All affidavits so removed shall be gathered together and placed in envelopes provided for that purpose for each election being held.

(2) A majority of the counting board officials shall certify the envelopes for each precinct in substantially the following form:

Affidavits removed from sealed absentee ballots of __________ absent voters who voted in the __________ precinct in the __________ election on the __________ day of __________, 20___, in __________ County, State of Tennessee.  We hereby certify that we have sealed this envelope before opening any of the sealed absentee ballot envelopes containing ballots.

_________________________________________________

_________________________________________________

Name and Title

Name and Title

_________________________________________________

_________________________________________________

Name and Title

Name and Title

(b) If any absentee ballot is rejected for any reason by the administrator of elections or by the counting board, such absentee ballot envelope shall not be opened nor its affidavit removed, but it shall be marked “Rejected” across its face with the reasons for rejection written on it and signed by each official who rejected it.  It shall then be placed in the container of rejected absentee ballots.  A list shall be made of such rejected ballots, and the administrator shall notify the voters by mail of the rejection.

(c) The counting board official shall then open the sealed absentee ballot envelopes, remove the absentee ballots and count and record the absentee ballot votes and the early voting ballot votes.  In no event may the votes for any candidate be totaled until after all polls in the county are closed.

(d) When a counting board receives ballots which the county election commission received on election day before the close of the polls, it shall write on the voter's duplicate permanent registration record that the voter has voted absentee in the election and record the voter's name on the absentee poll book.  At the close of the polls the counting board shall make a certificate for such ballots substantially in the form of the certificate required by subsection (a).

(e) If a county election commission authorizes the use of a mechanical or electronic voting machine for early voting, the commission shall remove the vote totals according to rules promulgated by the coordinator of elections.  Votes must be removed from the machines in such a manner so that no vote totals can be associated with any candidate at the time of removal.  In addition, the election commission shall be required to provide notice to all candidates and political parties of the place and time when the vote totals will be removed from those voting machines.  In no event may the votes for any candidate be totaled until after all polls in the county are closed.

(f) Not later than forty-five (45) days after an election, the chair of the county election commission shall certify the results of absentee balloting to the state election coordinator.  Failure to so certify shall be grounds for removal from office under title 8, chapter 47.


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