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New S.C. voting law establishes early voting, restricts absentee voting

Early voting now in effect for June primaries
(Source: MGN)
(Source: MGN)(MGN)
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 5:09 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – The election reform bill establishing early voting in South Carolina is now law.

The law establishes early in-person voting and restricts voting by mail.

Governor McMaster signed it into law Friday.

Gov. McMaster signs early voting bill into law, May 13, 2022.
Gov. McMaster signs early voting bill into law, May 13, 2022.(Governor's office)

To help prepare for the upcoming June 14 Primaries, the State Election Commission wants voters to know all their options to vote:

Polling Place on Election Day

What you need to know: South Carolina 2022 Election Guide

Early Voting

In-person absentee voting has now been replaced with a two-week early voting period. Any voter can visit an early-voting location in their county and vote like they would at their polling place on Election Day.

  • Early voting for June Primaries:
  • Tuesday, May 31 – Friday, June 10. Closed Saturday and Sunday, June 4 - 5.
  • 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • All County Voter Registration and Elections Offices.
  • Any additional locations will be determined by the counties no later than May 24 and posted to scVOTES.gov
  • Early voting for June Runoffs:
  • Wednesday, June 22 – Friday, June 24.
  • Same hours and locations as Primaries.
  • Bring your Photo ID (or voter registration card if you do not have a Photo ID).

Absentee (by-mail only)

Absentee voting allows qualified voters to cast a ballot by mail prior to Election Day.

In-Person Absentee Voting is no longer authorized by law.

Qualified absentee voters include:        

  • Voters with disabilities
  • Voters sixty-five years of age or older
  • Members of the Armed Forces and Merchant Marines of the United States, their spouses, and dependents residing with them
  • Voters admitted to hospitals as emergency patients on the day of an election or within a four-day period before the election
  • Voters who, for one of the following reasons, are unable to vote in person on any day of the early-voting period or on Election Day:
    • Employment obligations.
    • Attending sick or physically disabled persons.
    • Confined to a jail or pretrial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial.
    • Absent from their county for any reason.

2022 Grand Strand Elections: What you need to know

2022 Pee Dee Elections: What you need to know

To vote absentee:

  • Request an absentee application by phone, mail, or in person at your county voter registration office.
  • Complete, sign and return the application to your county voter registration office by mail or in person.
  • County offices will soon begin issuing new applications based on the new requirements.
  • The old application will continue to be accepted through May 31.
  • After May 31, only new applications meeting current requirements will be accepted.
  • The deadline to return a new application is June 3.
  • You will receive your absentee ballot in the mail.
  • Vote and return your ballot to your county voter registration office by mail or in-person no later than 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Be sure to sign the voter’s oath and have the return envelope witnessed. There are no changes to the witness requirement in effect for the June Primaries. Witness requirement changes in the law go into effect in July.
  • Photo ID will be required to return your ballot in person.
  • Ballots returned by mail should be mailed no later than one week prior to election day to help ensure timely delivery.

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