Officials explain paper voting in Hamilton Co.
Hamilton County is one of just a few counties in Tennessee that uses paper ballots.
It may seem old school, putting pen to paper when deciding your vote, but the Hamilton County elections administrator said the system has worked for the county for years and they don't plan to change it, saying it's safe and cost-effective.
"We can absolutely 100 percent be certain of the voter’s intent in that process,” Elections Administrator Kerry Steelman said. “You can't dispute that hand to the paper with the pen marking the oval."
Voting this way creates a paper trail, assuring officials a voter's decision was cast correctly. As opposed to a machine where a voters trust lies with technology.
"You're certainly reliant on whoever the technician is that calibrated the machine to ensure that any vote that was cast based on a touch screen system in all actuality cast the vote as intended,” Steelman said. “But there's no disputing the paper ballot."
Even though paper ballots may not seem up-to-date with technology, there has a been a push to bring them back across the nation. In March legislation was introduced to the U.S. House, co-sponsored by Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis, aimed at requiring voter-verified paper ballots, to prevent hacking.
It's legislation Steelman said, outlines another reason the paper system works in Hamilton County.
"The process that works for Hamilton County may not be the process that works for other counties in Tennessee,” Steelman added. “But we have found that paper balloting is the best process."
Steelman said it’s not likely the county will ever switch to machine voting.