Witness signature NOT required on mail-in absentee ballots, for now

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COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- The November election has been the topic of discussion for months now, as lawmakers tried to figure out how to address voting during this pandemic.

Back in June the federal courts ruled a witness signature was not required for absentee voting. It was a ruling South Carolina lawmakers were unable to duplicate when they returned to the State House earlier this month.

For the June primary all South Carolina voters were able to vote absentee as a way to decrease the number of people congregating in a polling place.

The same rules will apply to the November election, citing the pandemic as a reason to vote absentee.

The primary also gave voters relief when federal courts waived the witness signature requirement or mail-in absentee ballots.

It’s a topic that dominated discussions at the State House earlier this month; however, lawmakers failed to make their own ruling on the waiver.

Many lawmakers were hoping the courts would once again take action.

The matter did go to court where a judge ruled in favor of the waiver. That decision was quickly overturned, but as of Friday that decision was reversed once again doing away with the signature requirement.

The SC Election Commission is working to provide clarity for voters, but as of right now voters can cast their vote without a witness.

Chris Whitmire with SCEC explained, “Because this court case is ongoing the rule has changed a number of times even in the past week. I think the safest option is to go ahead and get the witness signature. We’re working on a quick resolution to give the voters clarity they deserve.”

In-person absentee voting starts October 5th. A witness can be any person, no exclusion on age or voter registration status.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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