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How to vote in South Carolina

Election day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020. South Carolina offers absentee ballots by mail to voters who will be unable to vote in person. All other voters are expected to vote in person.

Who can vote

You have to register to vote before election day in South Carolina. You can find the deadline to register to vote in the "Dates and deadlines" section.

To register in South Carolina you must:

  • be a United States citizen
  • be at least eighteen years old on or before the next election
  • be a resident of South Carolina in the county and precinct in which you are registering
  • not be under a court order declaring you mentally incompetent
  • not be confined in any public prison resulting from a conviction of a crime
  • *find more information on voting rights restoration here

Vote in person

Vote on election day

Voters registered in South Carolina can look up where to vote on South Carolina's site.

No early voting

South Carolina does not offer an early voting period. If you will be unable to vote in person on Election Day, you can request an absentee ballot by mail or by visiting your local election office.

What to bring

  • You will be asked to show photo ID to vote in South Carolina. Acceptable forms include: South Carolina driver's license or South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles ID Card (includes standard license and REAL ID); South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit; South Carolina voter registration card with photo; US military ID (Includes all Department of Defense Photo IDs and Veterans Affairs Benefits Card); or US passport (Includes US Passport ID Card).
  • Voters without ID: If you have a reasonable impediment to obtaining photo ID, you may vote a provisional ballot after showing your non-photo voter registration card. If you do not have photo ID and do not have a reasonable impediment to obtaining one, or you simply forgot to bring it with you to the polls, you may still vote a provisional ballot. However, for your vote to be counted, you must provide one of the photo IDs to the election commission prior to certification of the election (usually Thursday or Friday after the election).

Vote by mail

  1. Review the absentee ballot application and confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements for voting absentee.
  2. Fill out the application completely.
  3. Submit the request to your local election office. You should request your ballot as far in advance of the election as possible. The deadline to request a ballot by mail is (received by) Friday, October 30, 2020.
  4. When your ballot arrives, read it carefully and follow the instructions to complete it and return it.

See what's on the ballot

Learn more about what will be on your ballot by visiting the South Carolina sample ballot or by visiting Ballotpedia.

Get step-by-step help

TurboVote can help you start the absentee/mail-in ballot request process, send you election reminders, and more. If you’d like more help planning how to vote, we can walk you through the process!

Election Day registration

South Carolina does not offer registration on Election Day.

Military and overseas voters

Active-duty military, their families, and overseas citizens can register to vote and request their absentee ballot using the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA). To do so:

  1. Fill out the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), or download a copy. Your election official may have questions, so please provide an email address or phone number where they can reach you.
  2. Send the application to your election official.
  3. It is never too early to submit an FPCA! Please do so as soon as possible. You can look up recommended mailing dates by country and region.
  4. Please fill out and send back your ballot as soon as you receive it. Following are recommended return dates to make sure your ballot arrives at your election office on time:35 days before election - On a ship at sea: September 28, 202030 days before election - Outside of the US: October 2, 202011 days before the election - Stateside: October 23, 2020
  5. States begin mailing absentee ballots at least 45 days before Election Day. If you haven't received your ballot by 30 days before Election Day, contact your local election office.

If after submitting your FPCA, your ballot does not arrive, contact your election official first. Then:

  • You can still vote using the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Print, sign, and mail your FWAB to your local election office.
  • If you mail a FWAB and then receive your regular absentee ballot, you should complete and mail your absentee ballot also. Election officials will ensure that only one ballot is counted.

The Federal Voting Assistance Program – FVAP.gov offers additional information on military and overseas voting in South Carolina. You can also call 1-800-438-VOTE or email vote@fvap.gov

Check your voter registration status

You can look up your voter registration record and verify that your information is correct using South Carolina's voter registration lookup tool.

Dates and deadlines

  • Election day is Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
  • The deadline to register online to vote is Sunday, October 4, 2020.
  • The deadline for registering by mail to vote is (postmarked by) Monday, October 5, 2020.
  • The deadline to register in person to vote is Friday, October 2, 2020.
  • The deadline to request a ballot by mail is (received by) Friday, October 30, 2020.

Election contact information for South Carolina

Address:
State Election Commission
1122 Lady Street, Suite 500
Columbia, SC 29201

Phone Number:
(803) 734-9060

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