Don’t wait! Cast your ballot early
By Samantha Lyles
Election Day is coming, and if concerns over COVID-19 will keep you away from your regular polling precinct Nov. 3, you have two options: Vote absentee (by mail) or vote early in person. In either case, procrastination could needlessly complicate a fairly simple process.
“There are always going to be people who wait until the last minute, but if you’re going to vote by mail, do it now. Don’t delay,” says Hoyt Campbell, director of Darlington County Elections and Registrations.
The process to vote absentee in South Carolina is one of the easiest in the nation, with registered voters required to meet just one qualifying condition, such as being unable to vote due to work obligations, having a disability or being 65 or older. A list of qualifications is at www.scvotes.gov/absentee-voting.
Campbell says that those who wish to vote absentee can contact his office and request an application, which they must sign, date and return. A ballot will be mailed to that voter, which they can fill out and mail back in its own sealed envelope. These votes are checked in, removed from their outer envelopes and stored in a locked ballot box until Election Day. This inner envelope bears no identification, so the voter’s anonymity is preserved.
“We’ve already got – signed and returned – about 2,100 applications,” says Campbell.
He expects to send out about 3,000 absentee ballots in the initial mailing, which should occur by the first week of October. If these numbers hold, Darlington County will double the 2016 mail-in votes.
For those who would rather cast their ballot in person, early voting will begin in Darlington at the Voter Registration office on Sept. 28, and in Hartsville at Jerusalem Baptist Church (327 S. Sixth St.) Oct. 5.