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South Carolina Voting Information

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South Carolina

Summary
Deadlines
Links

Voter Friendliness

Voting Requirements
Difficult
Registration Difficulty
Difficult
Voting Accessibility
Needs Improvement

Upcoming Elections

There are no upcoming elections. Sign up for email or text notifications prior to important election dates.

Voting Qualifications

Not confined in any public prison resulting from a conviction of a crime
Never been convicted of a felony or offense against Election Day laws, or if previously convicted, have served your entire sentence, including probation or parole, or have received a pardon for the conviction
Not under a court order declaring you mentally incompetent

Deadlines

Voter Registration

In Person  - 
30 days before Election Day
Mail  - 
Postmarked 30 days before Election Day
Online  - 
30 days before Election Day

Early Voting

In Person  - 
Requested 1 day or more before Election Day

Absentee Ballot

Mail  - 
Requested 4 days or more before Election Day
Mail  - 
Received by 7 p.m. on Election Day

More Information

Party Affiliation

South Carolina does not have registration by party. Voters may vote in either party's primary, but not both.

Absentee Voter Rules

Who Can Vote Absentee?

  • Members of the Armed Forces 
  • Members of the Merchant Marine 
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Certified poll watchers, poll managers, and county election officials working on Election Day
  • Persons sixty-five years of age or older
  • Persons who for religious reasons do not want to vote on a Saturday (Presidential Primaries Only)
  • State of Emergency (November 3, 2020 General Elections and November 17, 2020 Runoffs)


Who Can Request an Application?

  • A voter or a member of a voter's immediate family (spouse, parents, children, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandchildren, mothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, sons-in-law, and daughters-in-law).  
  • An authorized representative on behalf of a voter who has an illness or disability. An authorized representative must be a registered voter and complete the Authorized Representative form. Candidates and paid campaign workers may not serve as authorized representatives.


Who Can Return an Absentee Ballot?

  • You can have another person return your ballot by completing an Authorization to Return Absentee Ballot form. Candidates and paid campaign workers may not return absentee ballots unless they are an immediate family member of the voter.
  • Voters admitted to the hospital as an emergency patient on the day of the election or within four days of the election can have an immediate family member apply and carry a ballot to the voter.


Voter Identification

You must bring one of the following photo IDs with you to vote early in person or on Election Day:

  • South Carolina driver’s license
  • South Carolina Dept. of Motor Vehicles ID card
  • South Carolina Voter Registration card with photo
  • US Armed Forces ID with a photo
  • US passport


If you forget to bring your photo ID, you may vote on a provisional ballot that will count only if you show your photo ID to the election commission prior to certification of the election (usually by Thursday or Friday after the election).


If you cannot get a photo ID for one of the below reasons, bring your non-photo voter registration card with you to the polling place. You may vote on a provisional ballot after signing an affidavit stating you have a reasonable impediment to obtaining a photo ID. A reasonable impediment is any valid reason, beyond your control, which created an obstacle to obtaining a Photo ID. Some examples include:

  • Disability or illness
  • Lack of transportation
  • Lack of birth certificate
  • Family responsibilities or a conflict with work schedule
  • A religious objection to being photographed
  • Any other obstacle that the voter determines is a “reasonable” obstacle to obtaining a photo ID