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South Carolina Election Information

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2014 Primary Election: June 10, 2014

2014 General Election: November 4, 2014

For more information, visit the South Carolina State Election Commission website.

Have questions or need more information? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)!

When You Can Vote

Election Day: 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

South Carolina DOES NOT have early voting.

Have questions or need more information? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)!

Where You Can Vote

To find your polling place, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE or visit the South Carolina State Election Commission’s polling place locator here.

Have questions or need more information? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)!

Registering to Vote

Registration Deadlines

2014 Primary Election: May 10, 2014

2014 General Election: October 4, 2014

Voters must register at least 30 days before an election.

How to Check if You Are Registered

Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE or check the South Carolina Election Commission’s voter registration lookup page here.

How to Register

Online

Individuals may register to vote online in South Carolina. Online voter registration requires that you have a South Carolina Driver’s License or DMV ID. If you have moved, you must first update your address with DMV, which you can do through the South Carolina DMV website. Online applications must be submitted on or before the deadline to be valid for any specific election.

In-Person or by Mail

You may also register to vote in person at your county voter registration board. You can locate your county board here

Voter registration forms may also be downloaded from the South Carolina State Elections Commission website. Applicants can mail, fax or email completed voter registration forms to their county voter registration boards. Contact information for county boards is located here. Mail-in applications must be postmarked by the deadline (30 days prior any specific election) to be eligible. Fax and email applications must be received by the voter registration office by the deadline to be eligible.

Registration Eligibility

In order to vote, South Carolina law requires one must first register to vote at least 30 days prior to the election. To be eligible to register in South Carolina you MUST:

  • be a United States citizen -be at least eighteen years old on or before the next election
  • be a resident of South Carolina, this county and precinct
  • not be under a court order declaring you mentally incompetent
  • not be confined in any public prison resulting from a conviction of a crime
  • have never been 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.

There is no length of residency requirement in South Carolina in order to register to vote. You can register at any time.

Identification Required for Registration

Applicant must provide ID and a valid social security number.

The South Carolina Voter Registration Application states that one must attach an ID to the application if one is registering for the first time in the county. Acceptable forms of ID include:

  • a current valid photo ID or a copy of a current utility bill,
  • bank statement,
  • paycheck,
  • or other government document that shows the applicant's name and address in the county where such person is registering to vote.

If an applicant does not provide this identification information at the time of application, he/she will be required to provide this information when voting.

Applicants who are age 65 and over, individuals with disabilities, members of the U.S. Uniformed Services or Merchant Marines and their families, and U.S. Citizens residing outside the U.S. are exempt from this ID requirement.

Have questions or need more information? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)!

Voting Early & by Absentee Ballot

If You Want to Vote Early

South Carolina DOES NOT offer early voting.

If You Want to Vote Absentee

Persons qualified to vote by absentee ballot:

  1. Students attending school outside their county of residence and their spouses and dependents residing with them
  2. Members of the Armed Forces or Merchant Marine serving outside their county of residence and their spouses and dependents residing with them (click here for additional information)
  3. 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
  4. Persons who, for reasons of employment, will not be able to vote on election day
  5. Physically disabled persons
  6. Government employees serving outside their county of residence on Election Day and their spouses and dependents residing with them
  7. Persons with a death or funeral in the family within three days before the election
  8. Persons who plan to be on vacation outside their county of residence on Election Day
  9. Certified poll watchers, poll managers, and county election officials working on Election Day
  10. Overseas Citizens (click here for additional information)
  11. Persons attending sick or physically disabled persons
  12. Persons admitted to the hospital as emergency patients on Election Day or within a four-day period before the election
  13. Persons serving as a juror in state or federal court on Election Day
  14. Persons sixty-five years of age or older
  15. Persons confined to a jail or pre-trial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial

Procedures for voting by absentee ballot

Qualified voters may vote absentee in person or by mail.

In Person 

You may vote absentee in person up until 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election at your county voter registration office. Photo ID is required to vote absentee in person.

As of January 1, 2013, you will be asked to show one of the following forms of ID when you vote in person:

  • S.C. Driver's License
  • ID Card issued by S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles
  • S.C. Voter Registration Card with Photo
  • Federal Military ID
  • U.S. Passport

If you do not have the required photo ID, you may be able to vote a provisional ballot. If you have a reasonable impediment to obtaining Photo ID, you may vote a provisional ballot after showing your non-photo voter registration card. A reasonable impediment is any valid reason, beyond your control, which created an obstacle to obtaining Photo ID. Some examples include:

  • Religious objection to being photographed
  • Disability or illness
  • Work schedule
  • Lack of transportation
  • Lack of birth certificate
  • Family responsibilities
  • Election within short time frame of implementation of Photo ID law (January 1, 2013)
  • Any other obstacle you find reasonable

To vote under the reasonable impediment exception:

  1. Present your current, non-photo registration card at the polling place
  2. Sign an affidavit stating why you could not obtain a Photo ID
  3. Cast a provisional ballot that will be counted unless the county election commission has reason to believe your affidavit is false.

If you do NOT have Photo ID and do NOT have a reasonable impediment to obtaining one, or you simply forgot to bring it with you to the polls, you may still vote a provisional ballot. However, for your vote to be counted, you must provide one of the accepted forms of photo ID to the county election commission prior to certification of the election (usually Thursday or Friday after the election).

By Mail 

You may apply to vote absentee by mail.  Photo ID is not required to vote absentee by mail.

Complete and sign the application and return it to your county voter registration office. You should return the application as soon as possible but no later than 5:00 p.m. on the 4th day prior to the election (the 4th day is Friday for all Tuesday elections).  You may return the application by mail, email, fax, or personal delivery.

Absentee ballots received by mail should be completed and returned to your county voter registration office by 7:00 p.m. on the day of the election.  You may return the ballot in person, by mail, or through an authorized representative who has completed the proper documentation available from your county voter registration office.

For additional absentee voting information, visit the South Carolina State Election Commission’s Absentee Voting webpage.

Have questions or need more information? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)!

Identification Requirements

As of January 1, 2013, you will be asked to show one of the following Photo IDs at your polling place:

  • S.C. Driver's License
  • ID Card issued by S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles
  • S.C. Voter Registration Card with Photo
  • Federal Military ID
  • U.S. Passport

If you do not have the required photo ID, you may be able to vote a provisional ballot. If you have a reasonable impediment to obtaining Photo ID, you may vote a provisional ballot after showing your non-photo voter registration card. A reasonable impediment is any valid reason, beyond your control, which created an obstacle to obtaining Photo ID. Some examples include:

  • Religious objection to being photographed
  • Disability or illness
  • Work schedule
  • Lack of transportation
  • Lack of birth certificate
  • Family responsibilities
  • Election within short time frame of implementation of Photo ID law (January 1, 2013)
  • Any other obstacle you find reasonable

To vote under the reasonable impediment exception:

  1. Present your current, non-photo registration card at the polling place
  2. Sign an affidavit stating why you could not obtain a Photo ID
  3. Cast a provisional ballot that will be counted unless the county election commission has reason to believe your affidavit is false.

If you do NOT have Photo ID and do NOT have a reasonable impediment to obtaining one, or you simply forgot to bring it with you to the polls, you may still vote a provisional ballot. However, for your vote to be counted, you must provide one of the Photo IDs to the county election commission prior to certification of the election (usually Thursday or Friday after the election).

Have questions or need more information? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)!

If You Have Moved Within Your State

If You Have Moved Within Your State

South Carolina’s “failsafe voting” procedures allow voters who have moved, but failed to update their addresses to update their addresses on election day and vote.

If You Have Moved Within the Same Precinct:

Voter may vote a full ballot at the precinct after completing a change of address form.

If You Moved Within the Same County But to a Different Precinct:

Voter has two options:

1.    Go to previous polling place and vote a limited, failsafe ballot containing only federal, statewide, and countywide offices.  The voter's updated address is recorded on failsafe ballot envelope.

2.    Go to voter registration office, complete a change of address form, and vote a full ballot.

If You Have Moved From One South Carolina County to Another Within 30 Days of an Election:

Voter has two options:

1.    Go to polling place in previous county of residence and vote a limited, failsafe ballot containing only federal, statewide, and countywide offices.  The voter's updated address is recorded on failsafe ballot envelope.

2.    Go to voter registration office in current county of residence, complete a change of address form, and vote a full ballot.

Visit the South Carolina State Election Commission’s webpage for Failsafe Voting.

Have questions or need more information? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)!

If You Are in the Military or Are an Overseas Voter

Federal law requires states to provide military and overseas citizens with special procedures to help facilitate voter registration and absentee voting by these citizens.  The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) covers:

  • members of the United States Uniformed Services and merchant marine;
  • their family members; and
  • United States citizens residing outside the United States.

Electronic Voting Accessibility Tool (EVAT)

EVAT allows UOCAVA voters to access, mark, and print their ballots.  The ballot must then be returned to the voter's county voter registration office by mail, fax, or email.  EVAT also allows citizens who have not already submitted their Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to upload their FPCA to become a UOCAVA voter.  EVAT reduces the time it takes UOCAVA voters to vote by eliminating the step of the county voter registration office sending the voter a ballot.  Using EVAT, the voter can access the ballot online, mark it, and print it for return to the county voter registration office.  Click the header above to access EVAT and begin the absentee process immediately.

Other important UOCAVA information:

Military and overseas citizens can use the FPCA to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) South Carolina-specific FPCA page.  Once the FPCA is sumbitted and processed, the voter is tagged as a UOCAVA vote.  This designation lasts until the end of the year it was submitted.

Military and overseas citizens can send and receive voting materials by fax and email.  If you wish to use the fax or email options, you must indicate this on your FPCA.  Instructions for doing so are found on the FVAP's South Carolina-specific FPCA page.

Federal law requires absentee ballots to be sent to military and overseas citizens at least 45 days prior to an election.

Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) if they are concerned with receiving their printed ballot and returning it by the 7:00 p.m., Election Day deadline.  The FWAB is a blank ballot on which voters write-in their choices.  The FWAB may also be used  to register to vote and to apply for the absentee ballot, all in one step.  If the FWAB is being used to register to vote, it must be received by the voter registration deadline.  For specific instructions, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's South Carolina-specific FWAB page.

Have questions or need more information? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)!

If You Have a Felony Conviction

Once a person who was convicted of a felony or offense against the election laws serves his entire sentence—including probation, parole and payment of restitution—he may register to vote.  To register, the applicant must submit a new voter registration application to his county voter registration office.  To participate in any particular election, the applicant must submit the application prior to the 30-day voter registration deadline for that election.  In applying, the registrant is swearing under penalty of perjury that he is qualified to register, including having completed his entire sentence.  County voter registration boards must be satisfied that the applicant meets the qualifications; and in some cases, could require a person who has lost his voting rights due to conviction to provide some proof that he has completed his sentence. 

For more information, visit the South Carolina State Election Commission website.

Have questions or need more information? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)!

Election Protection Materials

FAQ

Manual

Voter Checklist

 

For more information for voters with mental disabilities, visit The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and National Disability Rights Network’s document: “Voting Rights Guide for People with Mental Disabilities

For more information for student voters, visit the South Carolina Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Have questions or need more information? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)!