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2020 Election Guide: Here's what you need to know

Time is running out to make your voice heard. Here's what you need to know.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The general election -- where the nation elects the next president, and state and local leaders -- is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

With health concerns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, rather than wanting to go to their precinct location and stand in line to vote, many people are asking about options to in-person voting.

In South Carolina, the South Carolina Elections Commission lists three options to casting a ballot in the 2020 election -- registered voters can vote in-person, vote absentee in person or absentee by mail.

Check or update your voter registration information

When voting in person in South Carolina, you'll be asked to provide one of the following forms of photo ID at the polling station. 

  • SC Driver's license
  • SC DMV ID card
  • SC voter registration card with photo
  • federal military ID
  • US-issued passport

Make sure the information is up-to-date. You can check your voter registration information online at scvotes.gov

If you have moved since the last election, make sure your information is correct in the voter's registration system. You may have to update your current address with the DMV and then update your voter's registration address.

  • new address within the same county, click here
  • new address in a different county, you will need to re-register in your new county. Click here for addresses of county voter registration offices in South Carolina.

Changes must be completed 30 days prior to the election. If you try to vote in-person ON ELECTION DAY with a driver's license or ID card with an incorrect address, you may or may not be allowed to vote. You will be eligible to Failsafe vote under one of these conditions:

  • moved to new address within the same voting precinct = you vote a FULL ballot AFTER completing a change of address form at the precinct
  • moved to new address in new precinct in the same county = you can either
    • go to old precinct and vote a LIMITED, failsafe ballot containing only federal, statewide and countywide offices. Your updated address will be recorded on the failsafe ballot envelope
    • go to the voter registration office, complete a change of address form and FULL ballot
  • moved from one county in SC to another within 30 days of the election = you have the same two options as above -- limited failsafe or updated full
  • moved from another state to SC after the deadline to register to vote in the Presidential election = vote absentee with an absentee ballot containing only the presidential candidates. You should contact the appropriate absentee voting office in the state and county of residence from which you moved.

In person voting

Make sure you know where to vote. Click here for a list of precincts and to download a list of polling places and addresses. Polling locations can be adjusted up until election day. Make sure you know where you're headed when you go to vote.

Polling places are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. Anyone in line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Absentee in person

  • Go to your county's voter registration office, click here for addresses. People can vote absentee in-person in South Carolina starting Monday, October 5th for the 2020 General (Presidential) Election. You may vote up until 5 p.m. on the day before the election -- Monday, Nov. 2.
  • Don't forget to bring your photo ID
  • Fill out the application.
  • Cast your ballot.

Absentee by mail

Completed, signed and witnessed mail-in ballots should have been mailed to county voter registration offices no later than one week prior to election day to help ensure timely delivery. Ballots must be received by the county voter registration office by 7 p.m. on election day. 

If you still have an absentee mail-in ballot, take it and hand deliver it to your county voter registration office in person.

Check your ballot

Go to scvotes.gov and select Get My Sample Ballot to see which in races you are eligible to cast a vote. Depending on where you live, races may include US Senate, US House of Representatives, State Senate, State House of Representative, County Sheriff, County Coroner, County Council, other county offices and area school boards in addition to President and Vice President.