COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — With the statewide June primaries less than a month away in South Carolina, election officials across the state are implementing some big changes.
Last week, Governor Henry McMaster signed S.108 into law. The legislation was essentially a compromise bill that got rid of in-person absentee voting and established early voting in South Carolina. It also made other election law changes.
Isaac Cramer is the Charleston County Board of Elections Executive Director and Legislative Chairman with the South Carolina Association of Registration and Election Officials (SCARE). He said election officials across the Palmetto State have been advocating for early voting for years.
“It feels like completing a marathon and crossing the finish line and celebrating a major victory,” he said.
Cramer said in Charleston County they are hard at work preparing for early voting. “We’re thankful the General Assembly and Governor enacted this into law.”
According to Cramer, they believe South Carolinians will take advantage of the opportunity to vote before Election Day without an excuse. “We’ve learned to be prepared for an influx of voters, which means hiring enough staff for our locations,” Cramer said.
Deputy Executive Director for the South Carolina State Election Commission Chris Whitmire said statewide, more than 50% of voters cast their ballots early in the November 2020 election.
South Carolina allowed no-excuse in-person absentee voting due to the pandemic. “It was pretty much early voting in 2020. It was good that counties got that experience. They learned some lessons. The biggest lesson is, if you build it they will come.”
Under the new law, some counties could have up to 7 early voting centers.
Whitmire said early voting won’t necessarily mean a need for more poll workers in South Carolina. He said, “We’ll need poll workers who can work for that two-week period of time ahead of Election Day.”
The new law also makes changes to the state’s absentee voting by mail. For more information on these changes click or tap here.
Early voting for the June primaries begins Tuesday, May 31st.