Absentee voting increasing this election

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The June primary is Tuesday and the election commission is already seeing record breaking numbers of absentee voting submitted.

South Carolina lawmakers have passed legislation in their brief return to the state house to expand absentee voting, which may be a change that could cause some delays.

State law makers have expanded absentee voting to all voters in the state in an effort to decrease the amount of people at the polls.

Senator Chip Campsen says, “I had concerns about voters not being able to engage in social distancing at the polls that’s number one and number two there were concerns about poll workers who are generally more elderly.”

More than 120,000 mail in absentee ballots have been cast for the June primary.

Lawmakers passed a bill allowing poll managers to open those ballots before election, but delays in results are still to be expected.

“Counties have changed their processes of the number of people they have scanning, the number of scanners so some counties may be able to get them processed in time. It just depends on the local situation, it could take them longer and even into the next day,” said Chris Whitmire, SC Election Commission.

Also new this year, poll workers will be wearing face masks and sanitation measures will be increased. Several polling locations have also changed.

“Either you don’t have use of the facility this year because of COVID-19 they said no we’re not doing that this year or there’s been poll manager shortages,” said Whitmire.

Even though poll workers can open those ballots a day earlier, those ballots cannot be scanned until election day.

Poll workers will be able to open the mailing envelope on Monday eliminating a step that would usually be done on election day with this primary. So far 120,000 people have voted absentee by mail.

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