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Election Brings New Voting Machines

When you cast your ballot in the August election, don't be surprised to see new voting machines.

When you cast your ballot in the August election, don’t be surprised to see new voting machines.

The August 2nd election is the first time voters will use the new machines. Purchased from Election System and Software and certified by the Tennessee Election Commission, the new machines are similar to the previous ones with just a few new additions.

Casting Your Ballot

When you cast your vote, the touch screen voting will be familiar. You’ll choose from a set list of candidates with each open seat taking up one screen. After making your choice, you’ll follow the arrow prompts on to the next open seat.

“The new system will be familiar to voters that used our previous one. The voting process works the same way.” – Shelia Allen, Administrator of Election

After you’ve picked your candidate in each race, you’ll see a button to print your ballot. After pressing that option, the voting machine prints our your choices onto a paper ballot. That paper ballot then gets scanned into a separate machine, with the ballot being stored in a locked box below.

The paper ballot addition is the biggest change you’ll see. When you vote, make sure to check over that printout before passing your ballot in for scanning.

Election Security

With voter security featured prominently in the national news, it’s good to see our local Election Commission taking steps to ensure the integrity of our voting machines.

Each machine is air gapped, meaning they’re stand-alone units that aren’t connected to the Internet or other outside networks. The paper ballots are locked and sealed in the scanner boxes until after the election certification.

“I enjoyed having the paper ballot backup for my vote. It’s an extra step compared to the last election. But it’s a peace of mind issue. I like knowing the paper ballots can be checked if we need to.” – Marsha S.

Machines go through extensive testing with our election officials and the commission verifying the results in a public meeting.

Taken together, it’s a welcome upgrade of a wide array of security measures.

Election Voting is Underway

With early voting underway, you can head to the Election Commission this week to see the new machines right away.

If you haven’t voted by then, make time to vote on Election Day. Polls are open from 9am to 7pm. If you’re in line at 7pm, stay in line and vote.

Make sure to bring a valid photo ID. Any of the following IDs may be used, even if expired:

  • Tennessee driver license with your photo
  • United States Passport
  • Photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
  • Photo ID issued by the federal or Tennessee state government
  • United States Military photo ID
  • Tennessee handgun carry permit with your photo

College student IDs and photo IDs not issued by the federal or Tennessee state government are NOT acceptable. This includes county or city issued photo IDs, such as library cards, and photo IDs issued by other states.

Head over to GoVoteTN.com to find info on your polling place as well as check your registration.

If you want to run for a city office, check out our guide here to find out how it works.

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