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EXPLAINER: How the new voting laws impact the upcoming elections

Soon South Carolina voters will be able to head to the polls early to cast their ballots for...
Soon South Carolina voters will be able to head to the polls early to cast their ballots for the June 14 primary elections.(WIS-TV)
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 11:55 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - On May 13, 2022 South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed into law the election reform bill.

The State Election Commission issued a statement explaining how some of the changes will impact the upcoming June Primaries.

Absentee in-person voting is no longer possible under the law. It must be done by mail. Absentee voting can only be done under certain qualifying conditions but early voting is available for everyone.

ABSENTEE VOTING

Voters 65 and older, people with disabilities and military voters are unchanged. Being absent from the country for any reason has been added to the list of reasons.

The statement said,

“Voters who are absent from the county, have employment obligations, are attending a person with an illness or disability, or are in jail pending trial must be unable to vote during the entire early voting period and on election day. Previously, the voter had to be absent only on election day.”

Applications for absentee voting will be issued by county offices with the new reasons. Old applications will be accepted through May 31, 2022. The deadline to turn in new applications is June 3.

The application deadline for elections has been moved to 11 days before, previously it had been four.

Absentee applications have to be requested by phone, mail or in person. Online, fax and email applications aren’t being accepted.

Family members and authorized representatives are limited to five application requests in addition to their own per election.

More details on the absentee voting process in South Carolina can be found here.

Ballot Return

Photo ID is required when returning a ballot in person.

Family members and authorized representatives are limited to dropping off five returns in addition to their own per election.

Under the new law returning more than five ballots for other voters is now a felony crime. It is punishable by up to five years in prison, a $1000 fine or both.

Witness requirements have not changed for the June primaries. They will go into effect in July.

South Carolina Early Voting Law
South Carolina Early Voting Law

Early Voting

Any voter can visit an early-voting location in their county and vote like they would on election day.

The early voting period for the June Primaries starts Tuesday May 31, 2022 and runs until Friday June 10. Offices are closed June 4 and 5. Hours run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

All county voter registration and election offices are eligible for early voting. Counties are able to establish up to seven locations but must be posted by May 24. Click the link here for more information.

In the event of a runoff election it will run from June 22 to June 24 in the same hours and locations as the primaries.

Photo ID is required to vote at early voting locations.

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