COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The SC Election Commission (SEC) wants to make sure that voters take measures to protect themselves, as “the June 9 Statewide Primaries and June 23 Runoffs are set to proceed as scheduled” despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SEC says that it “has no authority to delay the primaries or deviate from current law in conducting elections.”
To reduce the number of people at polling places, while encouraging citizens to exercise their rights to vote, the SEC suggests that those who are able vote absentee.
According to SCVotes, qualifications for absentee voting include:
- Members of the Armed Forces or Merchant Marine serving outside their county of residence and their spouses and dependents residing with them (click here for additional information)
- Persons serving with the American Red Cross or with the United Service Organizations (USO) who are attached to and serving with the Armed Forces outside their county of residence and their spouses and dependents residing with them
- Overseas Citizens (click here for additional information)
- Persons who are physically disabled (includes illnesses and injuries)
- Students attending school outside their county of residence and their spouses and dependents residing with them
- Persons who for reasons of employment will not be able to vote on election day
- Government employees serving outside their county of residence on Election Day and their spouses and dependents residing with them
- Persons who plan to be on vacation outside their county of residence on Election Day
- Persons serving as a juror in state or federal court on Election Day
- Persons admitted to the hospital as emergency patients on Election Day or within a four-day period before the election
- Persons with a death or funeral in the family within three days before the election
- Persons confined to a jail or pre-trial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial
- Persons attending sick or physically disabled persons
- Certified poll watchers, poll managers, and county election officials working on Election Day
- Persons sixty-five years of age or older
Those voting in person on election day may notice some changes: polling places may be relocated or consolidated. Voters are encouraged to double-check scVOTES.org, as they may not be voting at their typical polling place.
Additional measures are being taken at each polling place to limit the spread of COVID-19. According to SEC, “poll managers will receive special COVID-19 training on applying social distancing and maintaining sanitary conditions in the polling place” and check-in stations/voting equipment will be placed six feet apart.
Officials hope to source the following:
- Masks, face shields and gloves for poll managers.
- Sneeze guards for check-in stations.
- Sanitizing wipes for cleaning common surfaces.
- Hand sanitizer for voters and poll managers.
- Cotton swabs for making selections on the touchscreen.
Finally, voters are encouraged to wear protective masks and bring their own pens when voting.
The deadline to register to vote in the elections is May 10.