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Press Releases

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.

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

cwhitmire Tue, 04/14/2020 - 12:39

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 and March Candidate Filing

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 ensure the health and safety of candidates and election officials during the 2020 March Filing Period.

Candidate filing will open at noon on March 16, 2020 and will close at noon on March 30, 2020.  All partisan candidates seeking office in the November 3, 2020 General Election must file during this period.

The SEC is taking actions to provide for continuity of operations and to protect the health and safety of candidates and election officials at the state office as well as directing county boards to do the same.  These actions include:

Securing South Carolina Elections

The mission of the S.C. State Election Commission (SEC) is to ensure every eligible citizen has the opportunity to register to vote, participate in fair and impartial elections, and have the assurance that their votes will count.  Fundamental to this mission is ensuring the security and integrity of elections in South Carolina. 

Time Running Out to Vote Absentee in 2020 Presidential Primary

COLUMBIA, SC (February 24, 2020) – The State Election Commission wants voters to be aware of upcoming deadlines for voting absentee in the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary.

If you still need to vote absentee:

If you have a mail-in absentee ballot and have not returned it yet:

2020 Presidential Preference Primary FAQs

Download a Printable Version

Q.  What is a Presidential Preference Primary (PPP)?

A.   A PPP, commonly referred to simply as a “Presidential Primary,” is a publicly held election in which voters vote for their choice to be a political party’s nominee for President in the general election.  State political parties use the results of the PPP to assign state delegates to the national party convention.  At the national convention, delegates from all participating states choose the party’s nominee.  The party’s nominee goes on the General Election ballot in November.  For more on a specific party’s nominating process, contact the appropriate political party.

Q.  Do I have to be a registered member of a party to participate in a Presidential Primary?

A.   No, S.C. does not have registration by party.  The Presidential Primaries are open to all registered S.C. voters. 

Q.  Why is there no Republican Presidential Primary?