NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Voters are being asked to prepare in advance to head to the polls across Tennessee for the Aug. 6 elections.

County officials said to expect several changes to keep from spreading COVID-19 while voting.

Early voting begins July 17 with polling locations opening. Officials said masks are strongly encouraged to be worn by voters, though it's not required because of Gov. Bill Lee's Executive Order 54, even in counties with mask orders. Social distancing will be encouraged as well with signage.

"Well it’s significantly more complicated it’s just things we never really had to think about in the past," said Davidson County Election Administrator Jeff Roberts.

County election officials are looking for ways for people to vote with little contact to the ballot box.

"In our situation we wanted to try to make the voter only handle one item throughout the process," said Williamson County Election Administrator Chad Gray.

Officials in Davidson, Williamson and Sumner counties are planning to give every voter a pen or stylus to make their vote.

"We’ll have to take special sanitary measures with voters that choose to not use their stylus and use their finger," said Gray.

Voter machines and boxes will be cleaned regularly according to officials. Poll workers will be in protective gear, a mask being the minimum requirement.

"You will still vote you will just vote a little differently than what you’re used to in an effort to protect the rest of the public," said Roberts.

According to officials, temperatures will not be checked, but voters will be asked a series of standard questions about potentially having symptoms of COVID-19. If a voter could have the virus or been exposed, an isolated nearby voting location will be made available.

County election officials say said double check early voting polling times and locations ahead of time. Davidson County plans to have all normal locations available. Other counties, like Sumner, only plan on opening one early voting location at the Sumner County Board of Education building.

Mail-in or absentee voting can still be requested for the August election. Officials remind voters to give at least a week for the ballot to be mailed and a week for the election commission to receive the ballot before election day. Ballots for November's election can be requested beginning August 1.


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