Horry County election officials expect to set record for mailed absentee ballots

Horry County sees uptick in absentee ballots

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - The state of South Carolina is expected to set a record next week, for the most mailed in absentee ballots for a primary election in state history.

As the state continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, a large majority of voters will be casting their ballots from their homes.

Director of the Horry County Voters Registration Sandy Martin said they’ve already received more than 14,000 requests for absentee voting ballots.

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On average, Martin says they receive about 1,500 absentee voting requests in Horry County for a primary election and cannot recall seeing this type of spike.

Of those 14,000 absentee ballot requests, they have been able to mail out over 8,200 and continue to do so every day.

Although people are starting to mail their ballots in, they cannot officially start counting absentee votes until the day of the primary, which means it might take a little longer for official election results to come in on Tuesday night.

Martin said absentee ballots take much longer to process.

Each voting packet must be removed from two envelopes then the voting ballot is removed and has to be scanned by a computer that officially counts each vote.

“Be patient because there’s a lot of safety precautions we’re gonna be taking which is going to slow down the process,” said Martin.

Across the state, more than 160,000 voters have requested applications for absentee ballots.

According to the South Carolina Election Commission, the record for mailed-in ballots was nearly 140,000 set in the 2016 general election.

“We’ve got a lot of people lined up to help so we’re hoping to get this done in a timely manner but we shall see,” said Martin.

Martin expects an even larger absentee ballot request in November for the general election, which includes the 2020 Presidential election.

Voters can still cast their ballots in person on June 9 for the S.C. Primary.

If you are voting absentee make sure your ballot is returned to your county voter registration office no later than 7:00 p.m. on the day of the election.

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