Early voting starts Friday, July 17, and voters will utilize the Knox County Election Commission’s new “paper ballot” system.


The paper system replaces the electronic voting machines, last used for the March primaries.


Approved in December, the change comes right on time considering the COVID-19 pandemic. With these paper ballots, the community can cast contact-free and physically distanced votes.


“I think the process is smooth and convenient, and I know the Election Commission has also gone a great length to ensure everyone’s safety as much as possible and I appreciate that,” said Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs.


Though aspects of traditional voting remain the same, many will be altered, including the opportunity for voters to review their own paper ballots before dropping them into the ballot scanner. Mayor Jacobs met with Knox County Administrator of Elections Chris Davis to talk through the new procedure.


“We’ve moved to an all paper system where voters will be handed a piece of paper for their ballot,” said Davis. “They will get to fill out the ballot with a blue or black ink pen and will get the chance to review their own ballot prior to putting it into the scanner.”


Davis said the voting process seems to take under five minutes, but he and the Mayor both encourage early voting.


If voters haven’t attended one of the Election Commission’s open house demonstrations of this system, tutorials demonstrating how to vote with the new paper ballots can be found on the Election Commission website.


View our video on the new system here.