SC Senate approves absentee voting for November election; House to review the decision next

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Senate has approved a plan to allow absentee voting for the upcoming November election, sending the measure to the House.

The Senate returned strictly to discuss the November election and how to handle voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We ought not to be listening to politicians but to the medical experts who have been cleared.”

State Senator Marlon Kimpson was one of several lawmakers to express their concerns with the upcoming presidential election during a special called session Wednesday afternoon.

Absentee voting was expanded to all voters in the June 2020 primary because of COVID-19. With numbers still on the rise, state lawmakers are pushing for the same changes this November.

 “We need to make sure voters can vote without putting their lives at risk, and to do that we have to disperse the crowds so they’re not standing in line,” said Sen. Dick Harpootlian.

During Wednesday’s session, Senators discussed once again expanding absentee voting. A proposal that received unanimous support; however, suggestions like offsite drop boxes for absentee ballots and waiving the witness signature requirement sparked debate.

“I’m perplexed about this fear of fraud when there hasn’t been a case of fraud in over 20 years,” Sen. Harpootlian said. “So, this is all about discouraging people rather than encouraging people.”

“The fact that Senator Harpootlian says there has been few allegations of fraud is not proof to do away with the anti-fraud protections, it’s a testament that those things work,” said Sen. Shane Massey, the Senate Majority Leader. “We’ve ensured that people get to vote.”

Ultimately, the senators voted unanimously to expand absentee voting to all eligible voters in South Carolina. But senators did not waive the witness signature requirement that a federal judge did away with during the June primary.

The House will be back on September 15th to review the Senate’s decision.

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