Some Nashville voters have been surprised to find brand-new voting machines at the polls this year, and there were a few hiccups in their first days of use during early voting.
But election officials say additional training for pollworkers should make for a smooth Election Day on Thursday.
The new machines require an extra step: reviewing a printout of all selections. The voting process isn’t complete until the voter slides that into a scanner.
During early voting, some people didn’t feed the ballot in far enough, causing delays.
“The voters are a little timid about pushing that ballot far enough into the machine,” said Davidson County Elections Administrator Jeff Roberts.
This scenario also led to some pollworkers getting too close to voters, and in some cases, pollworkers touched ballots, triggering complaints.
But Roberts said that pollworkers have since honed in on what advice to give, and things ran smoothly later in the early voting period.
“We’re anticipating it will go a little bit smoother,” he said. “I’m knocking on some wood here. I don’t want to jinx myself.”
At the Southeast Branch Library, fresh out of the booth, a half-dozen reactions were positive.
“I was a little fearful of the process,” said voter Anita Arline. “They were talking about, ‘It’s new, it’s going to be this and that and the other.’ But it’s much simpler and much easier than I thought.”
Milton Henderson agreed. He said he had questions in advance but found it seemless.
“There’s been a lot of conversation around the integrity of the vote. And so we’re back to paper,” he said.
Officials are telling voters to treat the scanner like a vending machine: Just slide the ballot until the machine grabs hold. And like that, the vote is cast.