COLUMBIA, S.C. — Many cities and towns across South Carolina are holding local elections on Nov. 2, 2021, and the State Election Commission (SEC) wants citizens to know that absentee voting is now underway at local county election offices.
Before you head out to cast your absentee vote, the special provisions for absentee voting that were in effect for the 2020 General Election -- at the height of the pandemic, where anyone could vote absentee -- have expired and now a qualifying reason is required to vote absentee.
If you qualify to vote absentee, you can vote in person or by mail.
For in person absentee voting, go to your local county elections office up until 5 p.m. Monday, November 1. Complete an absentee voting application, show your photo ID and cast your ballot.
For voting by mail, pick up an application at your local county elections office or download and print one from scVOTES.gov. Complete, sign and return the application as soon as possible to your local county elections office. Keep in mind the delays involved in getting mail through the US Postal Service -- return your application at least two weeks before election day to provide time for receiving and returning you ballot by mail. You can always email, fax or deliver the completed application personally. The deadline for returning an application is 5 p.m. October 29.
When you get your ballot in the mail, vote the ballot by following the ballot instructions and return the ballot -- either by hand or by mail -- before 7 p.m. November 2. Be sure to sign the voter's oath and have your signature witnessed by another person.
You can always check your voter registration status, get your sample ballot, see the status of your absentee ballot, and find more information on absentee voting at scVOTES.gov.
Qualifying reasons for absentee voting include:
- 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