New Online Voter Registration Surges, Overall Numbers Low

4:23 PM, Oct 3, 2012   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Thirty-four more days until November's general election, and fewer remain if you still need to register to vote.

In South Carolina, voters have only three days left.  Saturday is the deadline if you plan to vote this year and some are taking advantage of a new way to get that done.

South Carolina's online voter registration went live Tuesday at 2 p.m. and by 10 the next morning more than 3,000 people had submitted applications.

"I'm not surprised, but I'm pleased with it, because this is the time of year when everybody's thinking about registration.  We're getting calls daily, every minute and country registration offices are too," said Chris Whitmire with the state election commission.  He says South Carolina is one of thirteen state using online registration.

Still, number overall lag behind the most recent elections.

According to Whitmire from January 1 to October 2 in the 2008 election cycle 175,112 people registered to vote in South Carolina.

The 2004 cycle saw 152,389 new registrations in the Palmetto State. 

This year's number come is below both with 116,616 registrations in the state.  That figure does not include the new online registrations received so far.

"There are fewer registrations this year, why is that?  It could be that the excitement is less and there are fewer people registering but it could also be that so many people were registered in 2008 that the pool of potential new registrants is reduced and there aren't as many people out there who need to register so you could see a drop in number that way as well," said Whitmire.

Visit the State Election Commission Website

In order to use the state's new online registration, Whitmire says you need a drivers license or DMV ID.

The process can help people who have moved to a different county within the state.  Those people need to register in their new county if they plan to vote by the Saturday deadline. 

Whitmire says you don't have to get a new drivers license, just update your address with the DMV.  That can be done online as well.

He says if you have moved to another location in the same county, you should still update your information, but this weekend's deadline doesn't' apply.

On election day, Whitmire says you only need a driver's license,  DMV ID card, or a voter registration card.  He says those requirements stand as South Carolina's Voter ID law has not been cleared by the federal government, but he says it wouldn't hurt to have a photo ID on hand, if the law if put in place  before the election.

"In anticipation of potential pre-clearance, even if it's not cleared for this election, it doesn't hurt you to get a DMV ID, they're free now to anyone 17 years of age or older." said Whitmire.

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