A new way of voting being tested in Rutherford County could be a game changer for future elections across Tennessee.

The process involves getting rid of assigned precinct locations. Instead, voters can cast a ballot at any of the available locations. In Rutherford County's case, election officials reduced the number of polling places from 49 to 28 based on population in an effort to increase efficiency.

Election 2018 Tennessee

"You can show up at any of the locations in Rutherford County and vote," said Alan Farley with the Rutherford County Election Commission. "It's causing more people to vote, which, that's the intent.

Farley says it gives voters who work in another county or far away from their precinct more flexibility.

“People it off until the last minute, but they show up at 6:45 and they go to the wrong location, the wrong place and they can’t make… well, there is no wrong place now," said Farley. 

A 2016 law allowed Rutherford County to test the process to determine if it could work in other counties. 

News4 asked Davidson County election officials if they'd be interested in the same process. Jeff Roberts with the election commission says he'd like to learn more about the process, what worked and what didn't, before determining whether it will work in Nashville. 

It would require state lawmakers to pass another bill before any other county could vote using this same process. 

“I think this is something we’re gonna see rolled out, maybe not all across the state in 2020 but in time, most counties in the state will be voting this way," said Farley. 

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Kim St. Onge joined the News4 team as a reporter in January 2017.

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