Wilson County launches new ballot tracking system to assure voter confidence

Posted at 6:09 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 21:59:01-04

LEBANON, Tenn. (WTVF) — People in Wilson County choosing to vote absentee can track the progress of their ballot through a new system.

The Tennessee Secretary of State's Division of Elections already provides an online option that allows voters to check their registration status and confirm their ballot has been received, but the Wilson County Election Commission has taken it a step further with BallotTrax.

Eligible voters who mailed in a request for an absentee ballot will also be sent information on how to log in to the BallotTrax software and receive alerts straight to their email or phone. A voter can be notified when the ballot is mailed, delivered to the voter, when the marked ballot is put back in the mail and when it reaches the Election Commission Office.

With the controversy of the mail-in system and COVID-19 pandemic, the county is the first in Tennessee to use the Denver-based program to help instill voter confidence and provide greater accountability for election officials. The commission had already tested a tracking system during the primary election in August.

"We're going to make it a little more interactive for the voter," Administrator of Elections Phillip Warren said. "This adds one more level of confidence to that system for our voters."

Warren said the program allows his commission to work with the postal service with the help of a bar code.

A BallotTrax spokesperson said while Wilson County may be the first in the state, the company is in talks with other counties to use the tracking software in the future.

The last day to request a ballot and the last day the Election Commission can legally mail a ballot is October 27th, but the postal service recommends requesting the ballot no later than 15 days before the election. With an expected influx of absentee voters, election officials have urged voters across the state to send requests as soon as possible.

The absentee ballots should start hitting mailboxes in late September.