Horry County voting officials prep for November election

Horry County voting officials prep for November election

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - The presidential election is Nov. 3 and the Horry County Elections office is preparing now.

Election officials said all but one precinct will be used for November’s general election. That wasn’t the case for the June primaries.

For the primary elections, many precincts were combined for two main reasons - certain precincts weren’t allowed to be used at the time, and others didn’t have enough workers.

Horry County Elections and Registration Director Sandy Martin said having all but one precinct open for this election will help with social distancing. All COVID-19 safety precautions are in place, including face masks and voters using Q-tips to vote on the screens.

Some places around the country are utilizing locations like convention centers as polling spots to help voters spread out. If this was a possibility for Horry County, Martin said “no.”

“We’re going to use our normal precincts,” she said. "When you start moving precincts during a presidential election you run the risk of people not knowing where to go and it causes mass confusion.”

Martin said they are feeling good about the number of poll workers they’ll have for the big election day in November. She added there’s been a push for poll workers and said they’ve received roughly 450 applications in the last couple of weeks.

However, they’re also receiving a lot of absentee voting application requests and many of those are already coming back completed to the office.

Martin said they’ve received almost 28,000 absentee application requests from voters and almost 19,000 applications have been completed and returned.

She noted those 19,000 are waiting for their ballots to be mailed.

Martin explained what they’ll do if they end up needing more poll workers to help with absentee ballots.

“The last time we used county employees to help us with that and we’re gonna attempt to do that this time and we may hire some, but we’re going to attempt to use county employees," she said.

Absentee ballots won’t be mailed until Oct. 1. Martin said they’re looking for the state House and Senate to add the COVID-19 reason back for absentee purposes. She stressed that if this happens, voters are encouraged to vote early to help eliminate some of the lines.

Copyright 2020 WMBF. All rights reserved.