Election officials focus on absentee voting, voter ID law - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Election officials focus on absentee voting, voter ID law

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The upcoming statewide primary may not be the largest the South Carolina State Election Commission has to deal with, but they will be keeping an eye on two key factors, one of them could effect your ability to enter the voting booth.

"This will be the first statewide election in which the photo ID requirements will be in effect," State Election Commission Public Information Officer Chris Whitmire said.

The voter ID law has actually been in effect for over a year, but this is the first time every voting precinct in the state will require voters to show one of five types of ID. Those IDs include a driver's license, passport photo, DMV identification, or military ID.

"There are all types of federal military IDs," Whitmire pointed out. "There's IDs for people enlisted in the Armed Forces, civilian contractors, and people that work on the base."

However, the IDs must match that category. Credit cards and even some other government-issued IDs will not work.

"The concealed weapons permit looks like a drivers license, looks like a DMV id and would fall under that, because it looks just like a DMV id," Whitmire explained, "but the law says it has to be issued through the DMV, CWP's are administered by SLED."

You can still vote if you don't have any of the five listed forms of ID, but you will have to provide an explanation on why you don't have your ID.

"Sign an affidavit, saying who you say you are," Whitmire said, "and have some impediment  that keeps you from getting a photo ID."

The voter ID law isn't the only thing that election officials are watching during this primary. Absentee voting has been key in determining how big voter turnout will be for an election and this year is no different.

"Looking at absentee turnout," Whitmire said, "right now it's running right in line with what we've seen in the past. About 20,000 absentee ballots issued at this point, I believe there were about 23,000 returned back in 2010."

In a very low-key election, there may be only a handful of absentee ballots. Whitmire says that the 2012 presidential election saw hundreds of thousands of absentee votes.

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