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Lexington County says mail-in voting is still an effective way to vote

With recent concerns with delays for sending and receiving mail, the Lexington County Department of Voter Registration and Elections says you should mail in early.

LEXINGTON, S.C. — The Lexington County Department of Voter Registration and Elections says it will be safe to vote by mail-in for the November election as long as ballots are sent in with enough time. 

Because of COVID-19, not all voters feeling comfortable enough to go out and vote in-person, so many have decided to vote absentee instead by mail-in.

People are now able to send in requests for absentee voting.

"You have to have one of the 18 reasons to absentee vote," said Mary Brack, the Director of the Lexington County Department of Voter Registration and Elections. "In June, the Governor had put on there Number 19, the state of emergency, and that expired July 1st of this year."

As of now, people will not be able to select COVID-19 or state of emergency as a reason to absentee vote.

Brack said it's important for voters to make sure they are registered at the right address. People will be able to order an absentee application from scvotes.gov.

This year, there have been 10,500 requests for voting by mail. That's about a 2,000 increase for mail-in voting since the 2016 election.

With more people voting absentee in the primaries due to the pandemic, Brack says the biggest takeaway they had was people acting early when it comes to voting absentee.

"Really what we learned is the more things we can do upfront and before the election, the better off we are when election time comes," explained Brack.

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Recently many people across the country have complained about delays happening with the United States Postal Service with sending and receiving mail.

"If you're going to do an absentee by mail and you do that in plenty of time, if you get your application in now and we have time, those ballots are going to start going out the end of September, first of October, you'll have time to get your ballot and you'll have time to get that back."

The Lexington County Department of Voter Registration and Elections says they'll be providing postage paid envelopes so it won't cost anyone anything to send their ballot back.

Brack believes people should try to not wait until the last minute to mail in their ballot. She suggest a week or two buffer to make sure your ballot gets in on time.

"The only other option is if you do get your ballot by mail, we have a drop box outside of our office so you can bring your ballot back up here, put in the drop box or walk it in our office," explained Brack.

The Friday before the election is the last day the department can mail out a ballot. The director says that could run the risk of you not getting your ballot in time so you could mail it back.

The last day you can register to vote will be Sunday, October 4.

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