Court overturns appeal, witness signatures not required on S.C. absentee ballots

Court overturns appeal, witness signatures not required on S.C. absentee ballots
File photo (Source: Hawaii News Now/file)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF/WIS) – Witness signatures are once again not required on return envelopes for absentee ballots in South Carolina, according to the latest court ruling.

Information from the South Carolina State Election Commission states the full U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned the ruling of the court’s three-judge panel issued a day earlier that said signatures would be required.

“In effect, the most recent ruling reinstates the United States District Court’s September 19 order suspending the witness requirement,” a press release from the SCSEC stated.

State election officials said the court case is ongoing and subject to change.

“We are seeking quick resolution of the matter to alleviate confusion and provide voters with clear instructions as soon as possible,” according to the SEC.

The General Assembly passed an expansion of absentee voting that will allow any South Carolinian to vote absentee citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

A federal lawsuit was filed asking for the required witness signature on an absentee ballot to be waived due to coronavirus concerns, according to WMBF’s sister station WIS in Columbia.

On Sept. 19, U.S. District Court Judge Michelle Childs decided to waive the signature requirement for the November election. The following Tuesday, Republican lawmakers and the South Carolina State Election Commission filed an appeal to that decision.

The United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the appeal Sept. 24, only for it to be overturned the next day.

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