In 1994 Tennessee became one of the first states to allow in-person early voting. And like other states, Tennessee has seen the number of voters casting ballots before Election Day increase significantly in the years since.
In 1996, the first time early voting was used during a presidential election, nearly 21 percent of votes cast—approximately 435,000—were cast early. By 2012, that figure had risen to approximately 57 percent or more than 1.4 million ballots. On the other hand during this same 16-year period, the percentage of absentee ballots cast by mail remained steady, ranging slightly from approximately 2 percent to 2.5 percent of all ballots cast. The state requires voters provide a reason if they wish to cast an absentee ballot.