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Early voting is now underway in South Carolina: Here's how you can cast a ballot before primary day

New law allows early voting in South Carolina, restricts how you can vote absentee

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The midterm primary in South Carolina is June 14 and for the first time, South Carolinians will be able to vote early thanks to a new law signed by Governor Henry McMaster. While the new law allows early voting for every registered voter, there have been some changes in how you can vote absentee.

The biggest thing to remember is in-person absentee voting is no longer authorized by law. All absentee voting must be done by mail -- so allow time for forms to go through the US Postal Service -- AND voters must qualify to vote absentee.

VOTING ABSENTEE

The deadline is tight to apply, qualify for eligibility, and receive and return an absentee ballot for the June 14 primary election, but keep this information available if you should need to apply for absentee voting for the November 8 general election. In order to qualify for absentee voting, voters must meet one of the following conditions:

  • be 65 years of age or older
  • have a physical disability
  • be active military or Merchant Marine in the United States, their spouses and dependents residing with them
  • persons with employment obligations which prevent them from voting during early voting hours for the duration of the early voting period, and during the hours polls are open on election day
  • persons caring for a sick or physically disabled person which prevents them from voting during early voting hours for the duration of the early voting period, and during the hours polls are open on election day
  • persons admitted to a hospital as an emergency patient on the day of the election or within a four-day period before the election
  • persons confined to a jail or pre-trial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial which prevents them from voting during early voting hours for the duration of the early voting period, and during the hours polls are open on election day
  • persons who will be absent from the county in which they are registered to vote during early voting hours for the duration of the early voting period, and during the hours polls are open on election day

In order to vote absentee, registered voters must fill out an application for eligibility -- the deadline to get, complete and return a new application is 5 p.m. Friday, June 3.

  • Get your absentee application by submitting a request by either calling, visiting, or mailing your county voter registration office. You must provide your name, date of birth, and last four digits of your Social Security Number before an application will be sent to you through the US Mail.
  • Once you receive the absentee voter application, fill it out and sign it, then follow the instructions and return the application by US Mail or personal delivery. Deadline to return the absentee voter application is June 3.
  • Voters who applied early to vote absentee will be mailed absentee ballots around 30 days before the election.
  • After you fill out your absentee ballot, return the completed ballot to your county voter registration office or early voting center either by US Mail or personal delivery. When dropping off an absentee ballot in person, the voter must present a photo ID (driver’s license, SCDOT photo ID card, military ID issued by the federal government, passport, or SC voter registration card containing a photo of the voter). The deadline for returning a completed absentee ballot in person is 7 p.m. on election day. Completed absentee ballots returned by mail should be mailed NO LATER than ONE WEEK PRIOR to election day (in this case, postmarked June 7) to help ensure timely delivery.

EARLY VOTING

Early voting begins Tuesday, May 31 and ends Friday, June 10. Voters can cast early ballots at local county voting centers 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Bring a photo ID when checking in to vote.

OTHER DETAILS

Make sure your voter registration information is up-to-date by going online to scvotes.gov. Once there, you can update your information or check out a sample ballot or find your polling place.

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