Last Updated: September 2022
Voting in South Carolina
Polls are open on Election Day from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. or until the last person in line at 7 p.m. has voted. Anyone in line at 7:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote and is entitled to do so.
Early In-Person Voting:
Early voters may vote at an early voting location for two weeks prior to Election Day.
For more information on in-person early voting times and locations, contact your County Elections Office. See additional instructions regarding absentee voting below.
Early Mail-In Absentee Voting
Registered voters who qualify for absentee voting may vote an absentee ballot by mail before election day. Voters must apply for an absentee ballot by mail by no later than four days before Election Day (but are encouraged to do so sooner, at least a week before the primary election), and must mail in their completed ballot so that it is received by the country board of elections office by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. The South Carolina Election Commission recommends mailing the completed absentee ballot no later than one week before election day to ensure timely receipt. See additional instructions regarding absentee voting below.
How to Find Your Polling Place:
Visit the South Carolina Election Commission’s website: Find My Polling Place (You may also obtain information about precincts and polling places here).
Please confirm your polling location before heading to the polls to vote by checking both the South Carolina Election Commission’s website and, if available, your county elections office’s website or social media account (you can also call your county election office, using the contact information available here).
- For registration deadlines, see How to Register below.
How to Check Your Registration: Voters can determine whether they are registered to vote at the following link: Am I Registered?.
You are eligible to vote in South Carolina if you:
- Are a U.S. citizen
- Are a resident of South Carolina
- Are at least 18 years old by Election Day
- Live in the precinct in which you want to vote
You are NOT eligible to vote in South Carolina if:
- You were disqualified from voting due to a court order
- You are in prison or jail for a conviction of any kind. (Does not include pre-trial detention.)
- You were convicted of an offense against state election laws and have not served the entire sentence, including probation or parole, or have not received a pardon
- If you have completed a felony sentence, including any term of incarceration, parole, supervision, period of probation, or you have been pardoned, then you are immediately eligible to register to vote
How to register
How to Check Your Registration
Visit the South Carolina Election Commission’s Check My Voter Registration website or call 1-866-OUR-VOTE. To check your registration status on the website, you’ll need to know the following information. The voter’s:
- County of registration
- First and last name
- Date of birth
- Last four digits of the voter’s social security number
How to Register
South Carolina residents may register in person, online, or by mail/fax/email. Voters seeking to register prior to the Election must do so at least 30 days prior to the date of the election.
- In Person
You may register to vote in person at your county’s board of voter registration, which locations can be found here. You may also register while receiving services at various agencies, including the Department of Motor Vehicles. For a complete list of agencies where you can register, see the National Voter Registration Act Agencies page on the Election Commission’s website.
To register to vote online, you must have either a valid South Carolina’s Driver’s License or ID card issued by the South Carolina DMV. You can find the online registration form here. If you have moved, you must first update your address with the DMV.
- By Mail/Fax/Email
To register by mail, fax, or email, you must first download a voter registration form from the South Carolina Election Commission’s Website. Complete the form and then mail, fax, or email the form by the deadline to your county board of voter registration at the address, fax, or email provided on your county’s contact information page. Mail-in applications must be postmarked by the deadline.
In order to register in South Carolina you MUST:
- be a citizen of the United States;
- be a resident of South Carolina in the county and polling precinct in which you are registering;
- 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 you were previously convicted, you must have served the entire sentence, including probation or parole, or have received a pardon for the conviction;
- not be confined in any public prison resulting from a conviction of a crime; and
- not have been declared mentally incompetent by a court.
South Carolina law does not define the period of residency for voter registration. Applicants are asked on the voter registration application to provide their address in South Carolina, sign an oath affirming that they meet the legal qualifications to register and vote.
For more information on voter registration requirements, visit the South Carolina Election Commission website Voter Registration Information page.
Identification Required for Registration
If you are registering online, you must have a valid South Carolina driver’s license or ID card.
If you are registering by mail/fax/email for the first time in your 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 the county in which you are seeking to register. If you do not provide this information with your form, you must provide it when you vote. Voters over the age of 65, those with disabilities, members of the military and their families, and U.S. citizens residing outside of the U.S. are exempt from the ID requirement.
How to Update Your Voter Registration Information
If you have moved, but remain in the same county, you may update your voter registration information in 1 of 4 ways:
- Submit an online registration form. This requires a valid South Carolina diver’s license or ID. Before you can update your voter registration information, make sure you have first updated your information with the DMV;
- Download a change of address form, complete it, and mail/fax/email the form to your county voter registration office, using the contact information available here;
- Fill out the back of your voter registration card and mail it to your county voter registration office; or
- Visit your county voter registration office and fill out a change of address form
If you have moved to a new county within South Carolina, you will need to re-register in your new county.
If You Want to Vote Absentee, requests may be made:
- By Mail
- By Fax
Absentee Ballots may be returned:
- By Mail
If You Want to Vote Early
Any voter can visit an early-voting location in their county. Voting locations are open between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday – Saturday for two weeks before the election. A Photo ID is required to vote in-person.
You qualify to vote absentee only if you will be away from your county of residence on election day and you fall into one of the following categories:
- Members of the Armed Forces (for additional information see Military & Overseas Citizens);
- Members of the Merchant Marine (for additional information see Military & Overseas Citizens);
- Spouses and dependents residing with members of the Armed Forces or Merchant Marine;
- Persons serving with the American Red Cross or with the United Service Organizations (USO) who are attached to and serving with the Armed Forces outside their county of residence and their spouses and dependents residing with them;
- Citizens residing overseas (see Military & Overseas Citizens);
- Persons who are physically disabled (includes illnesses and injuries);
- Students attending school outside their county of residence and their spouses and dependents residing with them;
- Persons who for reasons of employment will not be able to vote on election day or during early voting hours during the duration of the early voting period;
- Government employees serving outside their county of residence on election day and their spouses and dependents residing with them;
- Persons who plan to be on vacation outside their county of residence on election day and during the period of early voting;
- Persons serving as a juror in state or federal court on election day;
- Persons admitted to the hospital as emergency patients on election day or within a four-day period before the election;
- Persons with a death or funeral in the family within three days before the election;
- Persons confined to a jail or pre-trial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial;
- Persons attending sick or physically disabled persons which prevents them from voting during the early voting hours for the duration of the early voting period and during the hours the polls are open on Election Day;
- Certified poll watchers, poll managers, and county election officials working on election day; or
- Persons sixty-five years of age or older
If you plan to vote absentee in-person before election day, 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.
Procedures for Voting by Absentee Ballot
- Absentee in person
You may choose to vote absentee in-person at your county voter registration office now through the day before election day at 5:00 p.m. Additional in-person absentee locations may be available in some counties—contact your county voter registration office. You will be required to complete an application for absentee voting before you may cast your ballot. 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 June 14th, the date of the primary elections. Check your precinct location before you go to ensure it has not changed.
- Absentee by mail
You must first complete an application to request an absentee ballot by mail. You can get the application:
- Online here. You will need a printer (you must return the application by mail, email, fax, or in person). You will also need the following information: your county of residence, your name, date of birth, and the last four digits of your social security number.
- By calling or emailing your county voter registration office. You will be mailed an application.
You must complete, sign, and return the application by mail, email, fax, or in person, to your county voter registration office. An application for an absentee ballot must be received by 5:00 p.m. eleven days before the election, meaning that it must be received by 5:00 p.m. eleven days before election day. However, the state advises submitting the application to request an absentee ballot at least two weeks before the election to allow for adequate time to receive and return the ballot.
After you submit your application, your absentee ballot will be mailed to you. You will need to fill out the ballot and return it to your county voter registration office, either by mail or in person. 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. While South Carolina previously paid for postage in the November 2020 election, it is not doing so for these primary elections in 2022. Therefore, you must put a stamp on the return envelope. This is a change from the November 2020 General Election. Ballots returned by mail should be mailed no later than one week prior to Election day to help ensure timely delivery.
You may also hand deliver your absentee ballot to your county board of voter registration by 7:00 p.m. on election day. Your absentee ballot may be returned by someone other than you who completes an authorization to return absentee ballot form.
Your absentee ballot must be received by the county voter registration office no later than 7:00 p.m. on election day, so be sure to return yours as soon as you can.
You can check the status of your absentee ballot by logging in to the state’s absentee ballot information portal. You will need the following information: your county of residence, your name, date of birth, and the last four digits of your social security number.
To register to vote in South Carolina you should provide:
- Your South Carolina Driver’s License or State ID Number (online applicants only)
- Your Social Security Number
If you are registering to vote for the first time by mail, you will need to provide a copy of a valid ID. Acceptable forms of ID include:
- Current and Valid Photo ID
- Government Issued Document that shows your current name and address
- Current Utility Bill or Pay Check or Bank Statement
ID is not required if you are 65 or older, have a temporary or permanent physical disability, are a member of the active uniformed services or merchant marine who is absent from the county for active duty, or a spouse or dependent thereof, or are currently living outside the U.S. but otherwise eligible to vote
In South Carolina, you need to show a valid photo ID to vote. You can use any ID from this list:
- Valid South Carolina Driver’s License
- Valid South Carolina Voter ID Card with Photo
- Valid ID Issued by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, Transportation, Highway Safety, etc.
- Valid US Passport
- Valid Military ID
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;
- U.S. Passport;
- Photo Military ID issued by the federal government (includes Dept. of Veterans Affairs Benefits Card); and
- South Carolina voter registration card with photograph.
If a voter does not have one of the required documents, they can get a free Photo ID from their county voter registration office or their local DMV office:
- If the voter is already registered to vote, they should visit their county office, provide their date of birth and last four digits of their Social Security Number. Then, the voter’s picture will be taken.
- If the potential voter is not registered to vote, they must register and then have their photo taken on the same day.
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 your county voter registration and elections office prior to certification of the election (the Election Commission calendar indicates that County boards must certify results within two days of election day).
There are two primary exceptions to the photo identification requirement, both of which only apply if you cannot get one or more of the forms of photo ID listed above because:
- You do not have a photo ID due to a religious objection/obstacle to being photographed.
- You do not have a photo ID due to an impediment that prevents you from obtaining one, such as a lack of transportation, lack of birth certificate, or disability or illness.
In either case, you should bring your non-photo voter registration card with you to your polling place, where you will need to complete an affidavit stating that you have a reasonable impediment to obtaining a photo ID, and then you will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot. This ballot will count unless someone proves to the county board of voter registration and elections that you are lying about your identity or having the listed impediment
No Photo ID is required to vote absentee by mail. However, if a voter returns an absentee ballot in person, a Photo ID is required.
For more information about voter ID requirements, visit the South Carolina Election Commission Photo ID Requirements page.
What you need to do if you’ve moved, but haven’t updated your voter distribution, depends on where you’ve moved: If you moved to…
- …another residence within your precinct, you can vote at your polling place but must first fill out a change of address form and mail, scan or fax the form to their county board of voter registration.
- …a different precinct within your county, you are eligible to vote a failsafe ballot (see below)
- …another county and you moved within 30 days of the election, you are eligible to vote a failsafe ballot (see below)
- …another county and you moved more than 30 days before the election, you must register to vote in their new county 30 days before the next election, or else they will not be permitted to vote.
You have two options for voting a failsafe ballot. You can (1) vote at the polling place in your previous precinct using a limited, failsafe ballot including only federal, statewide, and countywide office OR (2) go to the voter registration office in the county in which you currently reside, update your address, and vote a full ballot there.
Service members and their dependents may register and request a ballot using the federal voter registration/ballot request form (“FPCA”). You will have the following identification options when completing the form:
- Last 4 Digits of your Social Security Number
Your state does not require an ID to be provided in order to register your ballot.
U.S. citizens living overseas may register and request a ballot using the overseas voter registration/ballot request form. You will have the following identification options when completing the form:
- Last Four Digits of your Social Security Number
Your state does not require an ID to be provided in order to register your ballot.
Military and other overseas citizens may use the standard procedure for absentee voting by mail, but there are also special provisions for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and merchant marine, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with family members of all these groups, and other citizens who reside outside of the United States (together these groups are called UOCAVA voters).
Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot
UOCAVA voters can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot. Visit the South Carolina Election Commission’s Military & Overseas Citizens voting website or the South Carolina Federal Voting Assistance website for additional information.
The deadline to submit a voter registration application is 30 days prior to an election. UOCAVA status will remain effective through December 31st of the following year.
Receiving an Absentee Ballot
UOCAVA voters may request an absentee ballot by using the Electronic Voting Accessibility Tool (EVAT). If you are already a designated UOCAVA voter in EVAT, you can access your ballot through EVAT. Ballots will be available through EVAT no later than 45 days prior to the election.
If you are not yet a designated UOCAVA voter, EVAT will guide you through completing and uploading your Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). Completing and submitting the FPCA will both register you to vote (if not already registered) and designate you as an UOCAVA voter. You can also get the FPCA from the Federal Voting Assistance Program website, and return it to your county elections office by mail, fax, or email. Once your FPCA is approved, you will be a designated UOCAVA voter and will be able to access your ballot through EVAT.
You may also vote absentee by complete the standard South Carolina state absentee application (see above) and checking one of the qualifying reasons on the application. To do this, you must first be registered to vote.
UOCAVA voters can submit an FPCA, FWAB (see below), or South Carolina absentee application on any day leading up to, and including, the day of the election. However, voters are encouraged to submit their absentee applications in advance, given the deadlines for returning their completed ballot, detailed below.
Procedure and Deadlines for Returning an Absentee Ballot
EVAT does not allow you to return or vote your ballot online. After you print your ballot from EVAT, you must return your ballot to your county elections office by mail, fax, or email. If you are using a standard absentee ballot, you must also return your ballot to your county elections office by mail, fax, or email.
If you are returning your absentee ballot by email or fax, it must be returned to your county elections office by no later than 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the day of the election.
If you are returning you absentee ballot by mail, it must be postmarked by no later than 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the day of the election. However, according to the South Carolina Election Commission calendar, military or oversees absentee ballots must be received by 5:00pm the day after the election so we recommend mailing yours before election day.
You can check the status of your absentee ballot here.
Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot
The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) is a back-up ballot that can be used by UOCAVA voters. You can use the FWAB whether you are located inside or outside the United States (including APO and FPO addresses), provided that you are away from your voting residence for service-related activities. You must apply for a regular ballot early enough for your local election officials to receive the request at least 5 days before the election. However, if you do not then receive your regular ballot in time, you may use the FWAB. To request a FWAB, you can use the online assistant on the Federal Voting Assistance Program website (FVAP.gov) or download and print the form from FVAP.gov.
An FWAB must be received by the county elections office no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day.
South Carolina residents with felony convictions or who have been convicted of misdemeanor violation of an election law are permitted to vote as long as they have completed their sentence (including any terms of parole and/or probation) or if they were previously pardoned and are not incarcerated. However, they must re-register to vote once their sentence is complete. County voter registration boards may request proof that a sentence has been completed. Individuals convicted of any other misdemeanor are only disfranchised while incarcerated.