Deadline today for in-person absentee voting - - Columbia, South Carolina

Deadline today for in-person absentee voting

If you want to cast your vote by absentee, but have not yet requested an absentee application, today is the last day you can go by your county election commission and vote in person by absentee ballot.

The deadline to cast your absentee ballot is 5 p.m. today. You can fill out both the absentee application and ballot in person.

If you already have a mail-in absentee ballot and have not yet returned it, that ballot has to be in the hands of your county election commission by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

If you have an absentee ballot but have not filled it out, that does not mean that you can vote at your regular polling place on Election Day. Your absentee ballot must be completed and returned to your county registration office.

However, if you decide that you would prefer to vote at your polling place on Election Day, your absentee ballot must be brought back to the election commission blank. "If you want to vote at the polling place you have to go to the county registration office, return that ballot and they'll give you a letter to take to your polling place allowing you to vote," said Chris Whitmire with the South Carolina State Election Commission.  "If you're going to do that, why not just return the ballot? So really the best thing to do is if you have an absentee ballot get it back to the county registration office."

State election commission officials say so far a record number of absentee ballots have been requested, and they expect the number of ballots returned to blow past the records set in 2008.

In the last presidential election, a record number 342,000 absentee ballots were cast in South Carolina, but state election commission officials say this year more than 350,000 absentee ballots have already been issued for this election. That number does not include in-person absentee voting from over the weekend. "We've already issued more ballots than were cast in '08 so we're already on track to break those 2008 records that were set," said Whitmire. "And those [ballots] smashed the previous records because prior to that, total absentee in any election didn't exceed around 150,000 [votes]."

If you plan to cast your ballot on Election Day, officials say now is the time to double check your polling place. Polls will open at 7am and will close at 7pm. Officials say if you're trying to avoid long lines on Tuesday, the busiest times at the polls are usually from 7am-9am, 5pm-7pm and there's a lunchtime rush.

You will need one of three forms of ID to vote. Either your driver's license, your DMV issued ID or your voter registration card. While the photo ID law recently passed, it does not go into effect for this election.


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