NewsYour Guide to the August 3 election


Election commission workers busy fielding absentee voter questions

Posted at 5:14 PM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-03 07:04:30-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Betsy Heckman is still answering dozens of questions even on the eve of Election Day.

As a temporary full-time worker at the Davidson County Election Commission, Heckman spends most of her day answering calls or responding to voters who left voicemails with questions about a variety of topics. She even has a notebook to help her keep track of who she needs to call.

"I probably talk to 200 people a day pretty consistently," Heckman told NewsChannel 5. "I'm looking forward to the end of this. This has been every waking hour for weeks."

Heckman has been an officer at different precincts over the years but after the August primary, her primary job has become to help process absentee ballots. The number of absentee requests spiked to more than 36,000 in Davidson County because of COVID-19 concerns, with about 4,000 of them still needing to be mailed back to the Davidson Election Commission.

While Heckman answers many questions including where to vote and if someone can still register to vote, the majority of her calls lately have surrounded absentee ballots.

"Most of the questions today have been verifying if we received the ballot," she said.

If there are concerns if the mailed absentee ballots will be counted or it's too late to mail a ballot, one of the options is to vote in person on Election Day using a provisional ballot, which made up of less than 2,000 Davidson County voters in the past.

"You will fill out your ballot but instead of scanning at that moment, your ballot will be folded up and put into an envelope with your name on the outside. And the day after the election, someone like me will get that envelope and pull you up in the computer. If we got your ballot by mail, we do not count the one cast in person, but if we did not get your ballot by mail, then we count the one cast in person," Heckman explained.

The second is option is to deliver the ballot in person to the designated post office in your county by 3 p.m. on Tuesday. Election officials recommend this option as a sure way to get the vote counted. In Davidson County, the post office at 901 Broadway is where the commission will collect the ballot by the time it closes at 5 p.m.