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Witness Signature No Longer Required on by Mail Ballots for June Primaries

COLUMBIA, S.C. (May 25, 2020) – As a result of a U.S. District Court order issued today, South Carolinians voting absentee by mail in the 2020 June Primaries and Runoffs are no longer required to have their signature witnessed on the ballot return envelope.  Election officials will accept and count all absentee ballots regardless of whether the envelope contains a witness signature, if otherwise valid.  Any ballots that may have already been returned without a witness signature will also be counted if otherwise valid. 

Voters are still required to sign and date the voter’s oath on the return envelope.  However, the “Signature of Witness” and “Address of Witness” spaces can be left blank.

The removal of the witness signature requirement applies only to the June 9 Primaries and June 23 Runoffs.

Click here for more on absentee voting.

Requirements to Challenge a Ballot

Poll managers, any voter, and any qualified watcher may challenge the vote of a person who may be known or suspected not to be a qualified voter. A challenge may also be made if you have good reason to believe the person has already voted or has become disqualified for any cause. Challenges of ballots cast in person in the absentee precinct and at the polling place on election day must be made prior to the voter casting the ballot.  No challenges can be made after that time.  All challenges must be addressed to poll managers and not directly to voters.  Challenges of absentee by mail ballots must be made prior to separating the ballot from absentee return envelope, which can begin as early as 9:00 a.m. on the day preceding the election.  Challenges in the absentee precinct are very rare because the voter has the opportunity to make address changes or otherwise correct his voting record with election officials before casting an absentee ballot.  If a challenged voter casts a provisional ballot, the challenger must appear or produce evidence at the provisional ballot hearing to sustain the challenge; otherwise, the ballot will be counted.  See S.C.

All Voters Can Now Vote Absentee in June Primaries, Runoffs

COLUMBIA, SC (May 13, 2020) – Every voter in South Carolina is now qualified to vote absentee in the June Primaries and Runoffs.  Governor McMaster today signed into law legislation passed yesterday by the General Assembly that authorizes any voter to vote absentee in any election in June 2020.  The provision expires on July 1, 2020 and does not apply to any elections after that date.

“This action by the General Assembly and Governor McMaster, which we greatly appreciate, will go a long way in protecting the health and safety of every South Carolinian,” said Marci Andino, Executive Director of the S.C. State Election Commission.   “All voters now have a safer alternative to voting at their polling place in June.”

All voters now have two options to exercise their right to vote in the 2020 Statewide Primaries and Runoffs.

Vote Absentee

One Week Remains to Get Registered for Statewide Primaries

Make Sure You Are Registered and Your Information is Current

COLUMBIA, S.C. (May 4, 2020) – To help ensure voters are prepared for the June 9 Statewide Primaries, the State Election Commission wants to remind South Carolinians of the fast-approaching voter registration deadline.

YOU MUST BE REGISTERED BY MAY 10* TO VOTE IN THE 2020 STATEWIDE PRIMARIES.

Voters not currently registered to vote in their county of residence must register by the deadline, including citizens who:

  • Will be 18 years old on or before November 3, 2020 and have not registered.
  • Moved to a new county but did not register in the new county.
  • Moved from another state but did not register in South Carolina.

Register Online at scVOTES.org

May 5 & May 12 Elections Postponed Due to Coronavirus

COLUMBIA, SC (April 27, 2020) - Governor McMaster today announced the postponement of elections scheduled for May 5 and May 12 (full list below).  Affected elections will be rescheduled.  Specific dates will be announced later.    

List of postponed May elections:

  • May 5
    • Lancaster School Board Special Election
    • Newberry City Council Special Election
  • May 12
    • Ware Shoals School Board General Election
    • Town of Windsor General Election
    • Town of Bonneau General Election
    • City of Hanahan Special Election
    • City of Chester Special Election
    • Town of Lamar Special Election
    • Ninety-Six School Board General Election
    • Spartanburg Metropolitan Sub District B Water and Sewer District General Election

June 9 Primaries to be Held as Scheduled

Qualifying Voters Urged to Vote Absentee

COLUMBIA, SC (April 27, 2020) – The June 9 Statewide Primaries and June 23 Runoffs are set to proceed as scheduled.  The SEC has no authority to delay the primaries or deviate from current law in conducting elections.  Voting options remain unchanged.  Voters should prepare now to exercise their right to vote by choosing the best option for them.

Vote Absentee

State House of Representatives District 115 Special Election

August 11, 2020 - Charleston County

Important Dates & Deadlines

Filing Opens:  Noon, Friday, April 17

Filing Closes:  Noon, Saturday, April 25

Click Here for Candidate Tracking - Get candidate names and information (available after filing opens).

May 10 - Voter Registration Deadline for Primary

June 9 - Primary

June 23 - Primary Runoff

July 12 - Voter Registration Deadline for Special Election

August 11 - Special Election

Candidate Filing Information

Digitized Signatures on Petitions

“Digitized signatures” will be accepted for verification under certain conditions.  A digitized signature is created using a touchscreen or similar device by which the signor uses his finger or stylus to create a human readable signature that can be checked against signatures on file at county voter registration and election offices.  

March Filing Continues, Candidates Asked to File As Soon As Possible

COLUMBIA, SC (March 19, 2020) – As March candidate filing continues, the SEC is asking candidates to file as soon as possible and to make an appointment before filing to help avoid crowding in the final days of the period. While the day-to-day impact of the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is uncertain, the SEC continues working with county boards to help ensure the process continues without interruption as directed by the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-09.

March & April Elections Postponed Due to Coronavirus

COLUMBIA, SC (March 15, 2020) – Governor McMaster today announced the postponement of all March and April elections (full list below).  Affected elections will be rescheduled to occur after May 1, 2020.  Specific dates will be announced later.

This announcement has NO impact on the March Candidate filing period.  Candidate filing will open at noon on March 16, 2020 and will close at noon on March 30, 2020.  Click here to read the SEC’s Statement on March Filing and Coronavirus.

List of postponed March and April elections:

March 19
Florence County School District 2 General Election

March 24
Greater Gaffney Fire District Referendum (Cherokee County)
Saluda County Council Chair Special Election

Statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COLUMBIA, SC (March 15, 2020) – The S.C. State Election Commission (SEC) is monitoring developments related to 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and working with the Governor’s office to take actions necessary to help ensure the health and safety of the public and to provide for continuity of operations.  The SEC is also working with county boards of voter registration and elections to ensure critical services continue to be offered to the public including voter registration, absentee voting and candidate filing.

Actions include: