COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed a bill Friday that establishes rules for early voting.
McMaster, in a tweet, declared the bill “a major victory for those who believe in free and fair elections,” and said the bill would protect the state “from the election day disasters we saw nationwide in 2020.” McMaster didn’t offer any specific examples.
There was no widespread fraud in the 2020 election that would’ve changed the outcome, according to the Associated Press.
The bill allows for early in-person voting in the two weeks leading up to election days, according to the South Carolina State Election Commission.
For the June 14 primary, early voting will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. from May 31 to June 10, with the exception of June 4 and 5. Voting locations will be decided by counties before May 24 and posted on scVOTES.gov, according to the election commission.
Photo ID is required.
Early voting for June runoffs are June 22 to June 24 with the same hours and locations as the primary elections.
In-person absentee voting is no longer allowed, according to the election commission. Those who qualify to vote absentee must do so by mail and must meet the following qualifications:
- Voters with disabilities
- Voters ages 65+
- Military members, their spouses, and dependents living with them
- Voters admitted to hospitals as emergency patients on election day or within four days
- Voters who can’t vote in person for one of the following:
- Employment obligations
- Attending sick or physically disabled people
- Confined to a jail or pretrial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial
- Absent from the county for any reason
Those wanting to vote absentee by mail can request an application by phone, mail, or in person at the county voter registration office. Voters must complete, sign and return the application by mail or in person.
According to the election commission, counties will begin issuing new applications with the new guidance. Old applications will be accepted until May 31. The deadline to return a new application is June 3.
Absentee ballots must be returned by 7 p.m. on election day and must have a signed voter’s oath and return envelope witnessed, according to the election commission. There are no changes to witness requirements for the June primaries. Witness requirement changes will go into effect after the June primaries. The election commission didn’t specify what changes will be made.
Voters must have Photo ID to return a ballot in person and those returned by mail must be mailed no later than one week before election day, according to the election commission.