Bill Allows Every Voter In South Carolina To Qualify For Absentee Voting For June Primaries, Runoffs

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina General Assembly passed a bill to enable voters to cite ‘State of Emergency’ for purposes of requesting absentee ballots, and allows the election officials to provide more time to process absentee ballots.

For procedure purposes, Senator Chip Campsen’s (R-Charleston) election proposals – originally included in Senate Bills 867 and 1204 – passed unanimously by the General Assembly as part of Senate Bill 635. The legislation now heads to the governor’s desk for a signature before becoming law.

Senate Bill 867, unanimously passed by the Senate and House, includes “State of Emergency” as a recognized reason for a voter to request an absentee ballot. Additionally, the bill streamlines the voting process for in-person absentee voters, reducing the steps necessary to cast a vote from five to two steps and adds additional time for election officials to process absentee ballots.

“The outbreak of COVID-19 could have wreaked havoc on our upcoming primary elections. The passage of this bill was crucial in ensuring our elections will be held on time and safely, allow citizens the fair opportunity to vote absentee as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and provide the Election Commission the time necessary to count the ballots for a timely result,” Senator Campsen said. “Our election process is the backbone of democracy. Upon signature of the governor, voters and election officials will have confidence that South Carolina has an election process they can rely on, avoiding an Iowa-like election debacle.”

Elected to the South Carolina Senate in 2004, Senator Campsen serves as the chairman of the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee. He also serves on the Agriculture and Natural Resources, Judiciary, Legislative Oversight, Rules, and Transportation Committees.