Early voting begins in Tennessee on Friday for the August 2nd primary. When you cast your ballot this Friday, you will see the same setup, but you won't see the cyberinfrastructure upgrades put in place to protect you.

Hamilton County election officials made the decision to sign up for the election security program after a recommendation from the Division of Elections, which is a part of the Tennessee Secretary of State's Office.

"Any potential or existing cyber threats or vulnerabilities enabling us to respond," Kerry Steelman said.

You may remember, Knox County's election was targeted in May. However, officials in Hamilton County said that did not influence their decision to opt in.

"The federal government I think has appropriately recognized and classified election infrastructure as critical, and that has led to the creation of this initiative through the Department of Homeland Security," Steelman said.

It's called the 'Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center.' The new system allows election officials to share potential threats to voting with other agencies around the world. It uses cyber defense tools, monitoring and incident response.

"That allows us to go in and patch those vulnerabilities so that way bad guys or malicious actors cannot take advantage of those vulnerabilities on our system," Nate Foster, Election Programmer, said.

Voting machines are not directly connected to the internet. It's another layer of protection.

"We do not have to worry about bad guys using internet connectivity as an avenue for getting in and compromising the integrity of the election," he explained.

The new security program does not cost taxpayer anything. Rhea County has also opted into the service.

Early voting begins this Friday in Hamilton County, you can cast your ballot at any of the four locations. It's important to note, this year the Northgate location moved to the Hixson Community Center and the Collegedale location is now at city hall.

Early Voting Locations: Friday, July 13 - Saturday, July 28, 2018

Brainerd Rec Center
1010 North Moore Rd
Monday thru Saturday
10:00am - 6:00pm

Collegedale City Hall
Fuller Community West Room
4910 Swinyar Drive
Monday thru Saturday
10:00am - 6:00pm

Election Commission
700 River Terminal Rd
Monday thru Friday
8:00am – 7:00pm
Saturday
9:00am – 6:00pm

Hixson Community Center
5401 School Drive
Monday thru Saturday
10:00am – 6:00pm

If you plan on participating in early voting, you must have a Tennessee driver's license or one from another state. A federal photo ID will also work.