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A rare peek inside preparations for Nashville's August Election Day

Voting Machines
Posted at 5:23 PM, Jul 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 18:23:36-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It seems almost fitting that when it comes to preparing for an election, it all comes down to the numbers.

"There are 179 [boxes], one for every location," said Jeff Roberts, Administrator of Elections for Davidson County.

Employees of the election commission are busy this week preparing pages and boxes for each precinct.

"Up until the last minute, we are scrambling to make sure we have all the bases covered," said Roberts.

Emergency and provisional ballot boxes have to be prepped. They're assembled in case something happens to the precinct on Election Day. If you're thinking: why do we need those, consider a recent example when they were used.

"March 2020 — everyone remembers the tornadoes. Those tested our ability to do some emergency voting on a pretty quick basis," said Roberts.

Davidson County uses a massive, secure facility to store all of their voting machines and prepared ballots. For security reasons, NewsChannel 5 won't be disclosing the location. But we can reveal what all it holds. "It’s a large secure warehouse," said Roberts. "It’s amazing how big this is."

Inside the warehouse, there are more than 600 voting machines that will be taken to 179 precincts across Metro Nashville on Election Day. When they're held in the warehouse, they're given a specific spot. One, so they're loaded with the correct ballot. Two, so that they stay secure.

"Those are staged so that we have a chain of custody from when it leaves from here, where it goes and who’s touching it," said Roberts.

But in a matter of days, this whole floor will be empty, in preparation for Election Day. The most critical step is making sure the right machine ends up in the right polling place.

"Volume-wise, it's a lot of equipment that has to be moved," he said."You can’t take a ballot from Bellevue and take it up to Goodlettsville and think you’re going to stick it in. It will just spit it right back out."

All of this work so that, on Election Day itself, the real numbers game can begin — counting the ballots.

"We’re prepping it right here to make sure your voting experience goes off well," said Roberts.

Keep in mind, if you haven't voted since the most recent presidential election, your polling location has likely changed. You can check where you need to vote at www.GoVoteTN.org.

If you participate in Early Voting, all 11 of Nashville's early voting precincts are now open until July 30.

When you vote, you must present a valid state or federal ID.

Election Day is Thursday, Aug. 4.