COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina senators are getting ready to return to the Statehouse to discuss changes to keep people safe as they vote during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Senate plans a one-day special session Wednesday to debate changes that could include expanded absentee voting to anyone for any reason and changing rules that could otherwise mean long delays in getting results.
Other ideas suggested in a letter from state Election Commission Executive Director Marci Andino are implementing early voting at polling places, dropping a requirement that a witness sign off on absentee ballots and allow absentee ballots to be dropped in special boxes instead of being mailed in or delivered in person.
Andino also warned lawmakers that many usual poll workers are older and at more risk of COVID-19 and may opt to not work the election.
The changes are critical, because about four times as many voters turn out for a presidential election than statewide primaries, Andino said in her letter.
For the June primaries, lawmakers allowed no-excuse absentee voting and allowed officials to begin handling absentee votes sooner to reduce delays counting votes.
The House plans to take up whatever the Senate passes during a two-week special session for the entire Legislature starting Sept. 15. Both chambers also must take up the state budget.