COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Gov. Henry McMaster has signed into law a bill allowing anyone to vote absentee in next month’s statewide primary and runoffs.
Both the House and Senate passed the proposal Tuesday to assure no one has to vote in person for the June 9 primaries because of the coronavirus.
The narrowly tailored law only applies to this year’s primaries.
Lawmakers said they will consider in the summer or early fall if changes need to be made for November’s elections.
Election officials also have been given $15 million for additional virus safety measures for next month’s in-person voting.
All voters now have two options to exercise their right to vote in the 2020 Statewide Primaries and Runoffs.
- Any voter can now select Reason 18 – State of Emergency on the absentee application.
- If voting absentee by mail, get your application now and return it as soon as possible. Once you receive your ballot, vote the ballot, and return it as soon as possible.
- If voting absentee in-person, visit your county voter registration office or a satellite absentee location. Click here for a full list of locations. Bring your Photo ID if you have one.
Vote on Election Day
Election officials are taking steps to protect the health of voters and poll managers. Poll managers will receive special COVID-19 training on applying social distancing and maintaining sanitary conditions in the polling place.
- Election officials are working to source:
- Masks, face shields and gloves for poll managers.
- Sneeze guards for check-in stations.
- Sanitizing wipes for cleaning common surfaces.
- Hand sanitizer for voters and poll managers.
- Cotton swabs for making selections on the touchscreen.
- Check-in stations and voting equipment will be spaced at least six feet apart.
- Some polling places will be relocated or consolidated due to the pandemic. Some facilities have declined to be used, and some poll managers have declined to serve. Election officials are working to find new locations and recruit new managers; however, some voters will vote at a different polling place.
Voters should prepare by:
- Making sure your address is up to date.
- Check your registration.
- Update your address.
- Bringing your Photo ID (or voter registration card if you do not have a Photo ID).
- Checking your polling place at scVOTES.org before going to the polls.
- Wearing a protective mask if you have one.
- Bringing your own pen for signing the poll list.
- Practicing social distancing by spacing yourself at least six feet apart from others.
- Being patient. We are all in this together.