Measure to expand absentee voting put on hold until September

Local News

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- South Carolina lawmakers are once again pushing for an expansion of absentee voting because of the coronavirus for the November election. However, a recent attempt to do so was dismissed.

During discussion of the CARES Act Wednesday, many South Carolina representatives used the time to express the need to expand absentee voting.

A few lawmakers introduced an amendment to allow all voters to vote absentee using COVID-19 as a reason.

“We need to allow people that are concerned for their health and safety or those people who are quarantined and can’t go to the polls. We need to allow those people absentee voting,” explained Representative Russell Ott, who introduced the amendment on the floor.

The amendment was tabled with a vote of 69 to 41. Those who voted against the amendment say the November election can still be addressed at a later date.

“We were there primarily to pass the bill to allow the spending of the federal funds for COVID relief. If the pandemic is still with us in the fall then I’m confident that the legislature will address it at that time in September, which would give us more than enough time to prepare for the health concerns related to the COVID crisis.”

Others say there is no better time than now.

Representative Ott added, “We don’t need to wait any longer than we need to to get that accomplished.”

South Carolina lawmakers will return to the state house in September. However, it’s unclear if they will take up absentee voting at that time.

Traditionally, in order to vote absentee you have to be 65 years old and older or qualify with a variety of reasons.
During the June primary, the state saw record breaking absentee numbers.

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