We do not allow voters to use a paper ballot on demand. So, if people come into a polling place and demand a paper ballot, they will be denied this request. Paper ballots are only used in very special circumstances.
The Shelby County Election Commission (SCEC), as authorized by the Tennessee Code, requires that we use machines to vote. In 1958, the SCEC decided that Shelby County could no longer handle processing the volume of paper ballots generated when people voted on them. Since that time, in-person voting in Shelby County has been on machines.
After the Help America Vote Act was enacted in 2002, we began having a few paper ballots at each polling location, but they are for provisional use only. That means that if for some reason your name does not appear on the voter registration records at the poll, or you do not have an approved photo ID, you are allowed to vote using a paper ballot which is then sealed in an envelope. After Election night, provided we can verify you are a registered voter or you return to the SCEC office with a photo ID, your paper ballot is then included in the count.
Please remember, only in the case of one of the situations described above can a paper ballot be offered to a voter.