Horry County elections officials address concerns in delayed mail-in ballots

Horry County elections officials address concerns in delayed mail-in ballots

CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - South Carolinians will head back to the polls on Tuesday to vote in runoff elections.

However, some people who chose to vote by mail are concerned whether their vote will be counted on time after a delay in receiving mail-in ballots.

Cherie and Jeff Reid said they voted in person at the elections office last week when they didn't receive their ballots by Wednesday.

"Our mail goes from here to Columbia and back again and so people who didn't get their ballots til Friday or Saturday, it's not going to get there in time for their vote to count," Cherie said.

With more people voting by mail this year due to the coronavirus and a short turn-around between the primary and runoff, Sandy Martin, the director of the Horry County Voters Registration and Elections, said they did the best they could with the amount of time they had.

“We got them filed as soon as we could. They got them out the very next day, but most people didn’t get ballots until Saturday,” Martin said.

Like many others, the Reids voted absentee for the first time this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cherie said several others commented under her Facebook post about the delay in mail-in ballots, saying they hadn’t received their ballots either, which they said is a big concern.

“People said they knew they weren’t going to get it back in time so they just weren’t going to vote,” she said. “Some people have physical disabilities they just can’t get in the car and go to Conway.”

Martin said around 5,500 people requested absentee ballots for runoff elections during the June 9 primary.

Martin said they only had a one-week turnaround to make sure the ballots were certified and mailed out.

The department contracted an outside company to help because of the amount of work that goes into it.

"We have to put them all into the computer, we have to print two labels each, envelopes have to be assembled, we have to pick a ballot that goes in it," Martin said.

She said all of the ballots were sent out by last week Friday.

Despite the late delivery, she doesn’t think there will be a delay in Tuesday’s results.

The county and any voter with an absentee by mail ballot can return the ballot to a polling place Tuesday night by 7 p.m. Also, if you requested a ballot, but didn’t get one, go to your precinct to cast a provisional ballot.

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