South Carolina

Upcoming Elections

Oct. 2, 2020 – In-Person Voter Registration Deadline
Oct. 4, 2020 – Voter Registration Deadline – Online, Email and Fax
Oct. 5, 2020 – Voter Registration Deadline – Mail-In

Registration must be postmarked by October 5, 2020.

For more information, visit the South Carolina Election Commission website or their online election calendar.

Voting in South Carolina

When You Can Vote

Election Day

Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Early voting: Registered voters may go in person to their county board of elections office (or an alternative location) to vote an absentee ballot.  One-stop absentee voting ends at 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election.  For more information on in person early absentee voting times and locations, contact your County Elections Office.

Where You Can Vote

How to Find Your Polling Place: Visit the South Carolina Election Commission’s website: Find My Polling Place.  Please note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many polling locations have changed or closed.  Please confirm your polling location before heading to the polls to vote by checking both the South Carolina Election Commission’s website as well as your county elections office’s website or social media account.

Registering to Vote

Registration Deadlines: You must register 30 days prior to the General Election. The voter registration deadlines for the General Election are as follows:

2020 General Election: November 3, 2020

  • General Election In-Person Voter Registration Deadline: 5:00 p.m. October 2, 2020
  • General Election Online, Email and Fax Voter Registration Deadline: October 4, 2020
  • General Election Mail-In Voter Registration Deadline: Postmarked, October 5, 2020

Except for a person who was discharged or separated from their service in the Armed Forces and arrived home too late to register, South Carolina does not have same day registration.

How to Check Your Registration: Visit the South Carolina Election Commission’s Check My Voter Registration website or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

Registration Eligibility

In order to register in South Carolina you must:

  • be a citizen of the United States;
  • be a resident of South Carolina, this county, and this polling precinct;
  • be at least 18 years old on or before election day;
  • not be convicted of a felony or offense against the election laws or, if previously convicted, have served the entire sentence, including probation or parole, or have received a pardon for the conviction;
  • not be serving a term of imprisonment resulting from a conviction of a crime; and
  • not have been declared mentally incompetent by a court.  

There is no duration of residence requirement in South Carolina; you may register the first day that you move to the state.

How to Register: South Carolina residents may register online, in person, or by mail/fax/email.

Online

In order to register to vote online, you must have either a South Carolina’s Driver’s License or a DMV ID. Applicants can apply to register on the registration page of the South Carolina Election Commission’s Website. Applicants must have an updated address with the DMV. 

In Person

You may register to vote in person at your county’s board of voter registration whose location can be found at your county’s contact information page. 

By Mail/Fax/Email

In order to register by mail, fax, or email, you must obtain a registration form by:

  • Downloading a mail-in form from the South Carolina Election Commission’s Website. Mail-in applications must be postmarked by the deadline.
  • Sending the form to your county of board of voter registration at the email address, fax number, or mailing address found on your county’s contact information page. 

Identification Required for Registration: If you are registering by mail/fax/email for the first time in this county, you must attach to your registration form a copy of a current valid photo ID or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address in this county. If you do not provide this information with your form, you must provide it when you vote.

Early Voting & by Absentee Ballot

If You Want to Vote Early

The South Carolina legislature has expanded early voting to all registered South Carolina voters.  

You should confirm the early absentee in person voting locations and times with your County Elections Office. You may find the contact information for your County Elections Office on the South Carolina Election Commission’s website here.

If You Want to Vote by Absentee Ballot in the November 2020 General Election

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all registered South Carolina voters will be permitted to vote by absentee ballots in person or by mail for the general election.  Unlike in the primary, you will still need to have your ballot witnessed.  

An application for an absentee ballot must be received by the voter’s county board of elections by 5:00 p.m. on October 24.  However, the state advises submitting the request at least two weeks before the election to allow for adequate time to return the ballot.  

 

To apply for an absentee ballot online go to: scvotes.gov/absentee-voting. To request on-line, you must be able to print the application.  (You may return the application by mail, by email, or in person).

 

You may also request an application by telephone from your County Board of Elections. This link lists the telephone numbers of all the county boards. https://www.scvotes.gov/how-register-absentee-voting.

 

After you submit your application, your absentee ballot will be mailed to you.  You will need to fill out the ballot and send it back. Place the ballot in the “ballot here-in” envelope and place the “ballot here-in” envelope in the return envelope.  Be sure to sign the voter’s oath and have your signature witnessed.  Anyone can witness your signature.  A notary is not necessary.  A photo ID is not required to vote absentee by mail. You must put a stamp on the return envelope. This is a change from the primary.  

 

If you decide it is safe for you, you may choose to vote absentee in-person at the county voter registration office now through November 2.  A photo ID (or an affidavit of reasonable impediment) is required to vote absentee in person. And, of course, you may still vote at your precinct on November 3rd, Election Day. Check your precinct location before you go as many counties are having difficulty recruiting enough poll workers to staff as many locations as are usually open.

 

Your absentee ballot must be received no later than 7 PM on Election Day, so be sure to return yours as soon as you can.  

 

 

Identification Requirements

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

A Photo ID is required to vote in South Carolina. The ID must be valid and current. Acceptable forms of ID include:

  • South Carolina Driver’s License;
  • Photo ID issued by the DMV;
  • Passport;
  • Photo Military ID issued by the federal government; and
  • South Carolina voter registration card with photograph.

If you have one of these forms of photo ID, but do not have the identification with you, you may leave, get your photo ID, and return to vote by regular ballot.  Otherwise, you may vote by provisional ballot.  Your provisional ballot will ONLY count if you show photo ID to the election commissioner prior to certification of the election (usually Thursday or Friday after the election).

There are two primary exceptions to the photo identification requirement:

  • A voter who cannot produce one of the acceptable forms of photo ID due to a religious objection.
  • A voter who cannot produce one of the acceptable forms of photo ID due to an impediment that prevents them from obtaining one.
  • In either case, the voter may complete an affidavit at the polling place and cast a provisional ballot.
If You Moved and Did Not Update Your Registration Prior to Voting

If you moved to… 

  1. …another residence within your precinct, you can vote at your polling place but must first fill out a change of address form.
  2. …a different precinct within your county, you are eligible to vote a failsafe ballot (see below).
  3. …another county within 30 days of the election, you are eligible to vote a failsafe ballot (see below).
  4. …another county prior to 30 days before the election, you had to register by the deadline and are not eligible to vote.

Two Options for Voting Failsafe:

  1. Vote at the polling place in your previous precinct using a limited, failsafe ballot including only federal, statewide and countywide offices.
  2. Go to the voter registration office in the county in which you currently reside, update your address, and vote a full ballot there.
If You are in the Military or are an Overseas Voter

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

Overseas and military voters (and their dependents) may request an absentee ballot under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA).  The voter can get step-by-step assistance and forms at the South Carolina page of the Federal Voting Assistance Program website.

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

UOCAVA voters may request an absentee ballot by completing the Federal Post Card Application. This application can be filled out online at the South Carolina page of the Federal Voting Assistance Program website or an application can be downloaded from the website and brought to the voter’s local election office. 

 

Election Protection Materials

Questions about voting in South Carolina?

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