YORK COUNTY, S.C. — Monday was the first day you can cast an absentee vote in person in South Carolina.
Hundreds lined up at the elections office in York County where lines wrapped around hallways and the building.
Even before the elections office opened, the lines began to pile up.
Poll workers say tell me even for a presidential election year. This kind of turnout is rare.
The line of people waiting to cast an absentee vote in person was like a maze.
Eventually, it was moved outside for more room and safety.
“People have been wanting to vote for the November election pretty much immediately closing of the primary,” Helms. “So there’s been a lot of people waiting to make their voices heard.”
York County Elections Deputy Director Alan Helms says normally turn-out is lighter in the first few days of absentee voting.
But not this year. The Long family came out together to cast their votes.
Michael Long says the only person missing is his daughter who goes to school in Columbia.
But before this election ends, he’ll make sure she votes, too.
“It’s important for them to be civic minded as well and to participate in the government type of process that allows us the right to vote,” Long.
Sherry Lorenz says she came to York a month ago to make sure she knew exactly where the elections office was and she took the day off from work to be here on day 1.
“I’m glad I did. I have a feeling my ballot is going to be okay – and not – what the politicians say – it’s being stomped on, thrown away, burnt, whatever,” Lorenz said. “I didn’t want to deal with that. So it went beautifully.”
Lorenz credits poll workers for running things smoothly. Wait times were up to an hour and some just had to walk away, at least for now.
“I’m on the way out of town for work. I thought I’d stop and get my vote cast. i travel all week – every week,” Swanson. “I didn’t expect we’d have such a crowd on opening day. So I’ll come back another day.”
Jeff Swanson, the man you just heard from, says he’s voted in every election since he turned 18.
But the amount of people out here today shows just how contested this election season is.
Again, today was the first day of in person absentee voting in South Carolina. But many still have a lot of questions about everything from registering to vote to absentee voting. We spoke to the deputy director of the York County elections office and he answered the questions many of you have.
Can you still register to vote?
“You can still register, but you won’t be eligible for this election. Today is the last day to register to vote by mail. It has to be post-marked by the end of today – so if you have a voter registration application – it has to be post-marked by today – October 5th.”
What is the deadline for my absentee ballot?
“If you’re apply for an absentee by mail ballot, you need to get your application to us by email, fax or regular mail by October 24th. We have to have the applications here by then by 5 p.m. Between the 24th and the 30th – make sure it’s in person. And if somebody is returning it for you – you need to make sure to fill out that additional form.”
What are your voting locations?
“Our main office is open 8 to 5 – from October 5th to November 2nd. We do have select Saturdays – so check our website for that. Our Fort Mill location will be open on October 14th – they’ll be operating from 9 to 4, and also select Saturdays and some additional hours. And then at the Rock Hll operations center – again from 9 to 4 – it’ll be from October 14th – through the 31st as well. So again, for times and hours – check our website – yorkcountygov.com slash vote.”
If you’ve already requested a ballot by mail, those started going out today. The York County Voter Registration and Elections Office also has a Facebook page. They’re constantly updating it with the latest information.