With South Carolina's Presidential Primaries around the corner, absentee voting is underway.
County voter registration offices throughout the Midlands will be open on Saturday, February 13 for voters to cast ballots absentee, however, hours vary by county.
- Calhoun County 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Clarendon County 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Fairfield County 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Kershaw County 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Lee County 9 a.m. – 1p.m.
- Lexington County 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Newberry County 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Orangeburg County 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Richland County 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- Saluda County 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Sumter County 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Question: Do I qualify to vote absentee?
Answer: According to the South Carolina Election Commission, you must meet one of the following qualifications in order to vote absentee.
Members of the Armed Forces or Merchant Marine serving outside their county of residence and their spouses and dependents residing with them (click here for additional information)
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
- Overseas Citizens (click here for additional information)
- Persons who are physically disabled
- 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
- Persons who for religious reasons do not want to vote on a Saturday (Presidential Primaries Only)
Question: I qualify to vote absentee, what are my options?
Answer: You can vote absentee either in person or by mail.
According to the South Carolina State Election Commission, to vote absentee in person, visit your county voter registration office, complete an application, and cast your ballot. You may vote absentee in person up until 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election. Rules for photo ID required to vote at the polling place apply.
To vote absentee by mail, the election commission says to follow the steps below.
Step 1: Get an absentee application in one of two ways:
Get the application online. Use this link to get your application or the application of an immediate family member online. To get your application online, you must be able to print your application or save your application for printing later. You can also use this link to access your application to print again.
Request an application for yourself or your immediate family member from your county voter registration office by phone, mail, email, or fax. You will be mailed an application.
Step 2: You've now printed your application online or received your application in the mail. You must now complete and sign the application and return it to your county voter registration office. You should return the application as soon as possible but no later than 5:00 p.m. on the 4th day prior to the election (the 4th day is Friday for all Tuesday elections). You may return the application by mail, email, fax, or personal delivery.
Step 3: Receive your absentee ballot in the mail.
Step 4: Vote the ballot following ballot instructions and return it to your county voter registration office by 7:00 p.m. on the day of the election. You may return the ballot personally or by mail. You may also have another person return the ballot for you, but you must first complete an authorization to return absentee ballot form, available from your county voter registration office.
Question: I don't qualify to vote absentee, when are the primaries?
Answer: The South Carolina Republican Presidential Preference Primary is on Saturday, February 20. The Democratic Presidential Preference Primary on Saturday, February 27.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.