SC lawmakers vote to expand absentee voting due to COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Sep. 15, 2020 at 9:34 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Lawmakers in the South Carolina House of Representatives and Senate have voted to expand absentee voting ahead of the November election.

The bill passed with a 115-1 vote. Rep. Leon Howard (D-Richland) was the only member of the General Assembly who voted against the bill.

A spokesperson for the governor’s office said the bill will be signed by Gov. Henry McMaster once it is ratified. The bill is similar to what was signed into law for the June primaries. It would allow every registered voter in the state to vote absentee.

Members of the House voted to keep the witness signature requirement intact.

“We wanted to maintain current election law but allow flexibilty and the timing of and you can vote absentee,” said Rep. Gary Simrill (R-York).

Rep. Wendy Brawley and other Democrats tried to make changes to the bill earlier in the day that would waive the witness signature requirement and allow the use of ballot drop boxes, but those were voted down.

The Senate also passed a budget proposal on Tuesday that would set money aside for teacher pay increases and hazard pay for some state employees.

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