To cast a ballot prepared by new voting machines in the Aug. 1 election, voters must have that card scanned by a machine like the one pictured above. Courtesy photo of Davidson County

By Sheri Tyler Kimble

NASHVILLE, TN — Davidson County elections for mayor, vice-mayor and all 41 metro council seats on Aug. 1 includes two ballot questions: one to require the mayor to file status reports on the proposed budgets; the other changes city law on filling school board vacancies so it complies with state law.

As if those decisions aren’t enough of a task, the voting procedure will have an extra step because the county bought new voting machines. Voting now includes a two-machine process. The new system uses both touch-screen technologies and a paper ballot. After presenting a photo ID to the county’s poll workers with a registrar of voters in that precinct, voters are given two pieces of paper. The flimsy one is a registration paper which a machine operator receives, just like previous elections. The thicker card-like document, is a voter’s paper ballot.

To cast a ballot, voters insert the card into the voting machine, and will still view and select their choices on a touch screen like before. After selecting candidates and making decisions on the ballot questions, the paper ballot is ejected from the machine. It is a printed copy of voter’s choices to review. This card/paper ballot is, physically, a real ballot. If it does not correctly reflect what the voter wants, it should be returned to a poll worker to obtain blank ballot and start over.

Once satisfied that the paper ballot reflects their choices, voters insert it into a second machine, a scanner. This is important. Votes are not cast until that card, the ballot, is scanned. When scanning is complete, the ballot is cast and the card drops into a ballot box.

This municipal election was selected as a time to give voters experience with the new machines before the 2020 national political party primaries and federal elections.

To help voters, the election commission posted an online YouTube tutorial at

Early voting started July 12. The Howard Office Building, 700 2nd Ave., and 11 other early voting sites are open through Saturday July 27. If necessary, a runoff election will be held on Sept. 12.

For more on election information visit: