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Early voting in SC primaries open to all registered voters for next two weeks

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Published: May. 31, 2022 at 7:42 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - For the next two weeks, South Carolinians can cast their ballots early for the June primary races.

Tuesday marked the first time no-excuse, early, in-person voting was available to all registered voters because of a new law passed by the state’s General Assembly in the final days of its 2022 legislative session and signed by Republican Gov. Henry McMaster earlier this month.

Starting with this primary, the new law guarantees two weeks of early voting before elections, or three days for run-off elections.

For the June 14 primary, early, in-person voting began Tuesday in every county and runs through June 10, not including Saturday, June 4, and Sunday, June 5. Polling places will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Early voting for any run-off elections will take place June 22-24 at the same hours and locations as the primaries.

All registered voters will have this early, in-person option, and they do not need to provide an excuse or reason for why they are voting early, as they previously had. However, they do need to bring their photo ID or voter registration card.

Some voters who cast their ballots Tuesday said they appreciated the convenience of early voting after they were able to do it in 2020 because of the pandemic.

“Just that I got to do it early and didn’t have to stand in the long lines the day of,” Sheila Werner of Lexington County said, adding she would be on vacation the day of the primary and was glad to be able to vote before then.

Jeremy Jones, also from Lexington County, said he cast his ballot early in 2020 as well and took advantage of the new, no-excuse offering because he wasn’t sure how his new work schedule would mesh with time for voting.

“Giving people flexibility to vote is important,” Jones said. “I think it should be longer than two weeks actually because you never know what comes up before Election Day.”

During this early voting period, South Carolinians will very likely not be casting their ballots at their normal precincts.

The new law allows each county to choose how many early voting sites to open, with at least one required and up to seven permitted.

For this primary, Richland and Florence are offering the most sites, at five each, and in counties with multiple locations, voters who live in that county can vote at any of them.

But more than half of South Carolina’s 46 counties opted to stand up just one early voting location for the June primary.

That includes half of the 10 most populous counties in the state: Greenville, Spartanburg, York, Charleston, and Lexington.

Lexington County’s registration and elections director said their choice came down to money.

“It is pretty expensive to have these early voting locations, so it’ll save the county some money and also let people get used to early voting, so they can come here if they have any problems or if they just want to see how the process works,” Lenice Shoemaker said.

Counties can add, remove, or change early voting sites for future elections, so just because they have one location open for the June primary does not preclude them from having more for the November general election.

Some counties, like Lexington, say they want to open more early locations this fall, when they have more time to plan it out and staff the site, Shoemaker said.

But at least for the first day, having just the one location wasn’t an issue in Lexington County, with voters getting in and out within minutes.

“Very easy, a very quick process,” Jones said.

“I’m sure it’ll get busier as the days go by and we get closer,” Werner added.

While the new law establishes a no-excuse early voting period, it also tightens up qualifications to vote absentee by mail.

Under the new law, voters qualified to receive mail-in ballots include:

  • Voters with disabilities
  • Voters 65 years of age or older
  • Members of the Armed Forces and Merchant Marines of the United States, their spouses, and dependents residing with them
  • Voters admitted to hospitals as emergency patients on the day of an election or within a four-day period before the election
  • Voters who, for one of the following reasons, are unable to vote in person on any day of the early-voting period or on Election Day:
  • Employment obligations
  • Attending sick or physically disabled persons
  • Confined to a jail or pretrial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial
  • Absent from their county for any reason

The following early voting location will be open ahead of the June primary:

Abbeville

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 903 West Greenwood Street, Abbeville, SC 29620

Aiken

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 1930 University Parkway, Suite 1200, Aiken, SC 29801

Allendale

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 158 McNair Street, Allendale, SC 29810

Anderson

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 301 N Main Street, Anderson, SC 29621
  • Powdersville Branch Library: 4 Civic Court, Powdersville, SC 29642

Bamberg

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 1234 North Street, Bamberg, SC 29003
  • Brooker Center: 19 Maple Ave, Denmark, SC 29042

Barnwell

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 367 Fuldner Road, Barnwell, SC 29812

Beaufort

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 15 John Galt Rd., Beaufort, SC 29906
  • Bluffton Recreation Center: 61B Ulmer Rd., Bluffton, SC 29910
  • Hilton Head Government Complex: 539 William Hilton Pkwy., Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
  • St. Helena Branch Library: 6355 Jonathan Francis Senior Rd, St. Helena Island, SC 29920

Berkeley

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 1003 US Highway 52, Moncks Corner, SC 29461
  • Hanahan Library: 1216 Old Murray Court, Hanahan, SC 29410
  • St. Stephen Library: 113 Ravenell Drive Street, Stephen, SC 29479

Calhoun

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 102 Courthouse Drive, Suite 115, Saint Matthews, SC 29135

Charleston

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 4367 Headquarters Road, North Charleston, SC 29405

Cherokee

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 110 Railroad Avenue, Gaffney, SC 29340

Chester

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 109 Ella Street, Chester, SC 29706
  • Richburg Town Hall: 201 N Main Street, Richburg, SC 29729

Chesterfield

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 205 West Main Street, Chesterfield, SC 29709

Clarendon

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 411 Sunset Drive, Manning, SC 29102

Colleton

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 2471 Jefferies Highway, Walterboro, SC 29488

Darlington

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Annex: 135 Cashua Street, Darlington, SC 29532
  • Jerusalem Baptist Church: 301 S. Sixth Street, Hartsville, SC 29550

Dillon

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 305 West Hampton Street, Dillion, SC 29536

Dorchester

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 201 Johnston Street, Saint George, SC 29477
  • Alston Bailey Elementary: 820 W 5th North Street, Summerville, SC 29483
  • Wescott Park: 9006 Dorchester Road, North Charleston, SC 29420

Edgefield

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 210 Penn Street, Suite 1, Edgefield, SC 29824

Fairfield

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 315 S. Congress St., Winnsboro, SC 29180

Florence

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 219 Third Loop Road, Florence, SC 29505
  • Johnsonville Library: 242 S Georgetown Highway, Johnsonville, SC 29555
  • The Continuum: 208 W Main Street, Lake City, SC 29560
  • Pamplico Library: 100 E Main Street, Pamplico, SC 29583
  • Timmonsville Library: 298 W. Smith Street, Timmonsville, SC 29161

Georgetown

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 303 N. Hazard Street, Georgetown, SC 29440
  • Andrews Recreation Center: 220 S. Cedar Avenue, Andrews, SC 29510
  • Choppee Recreation Center: 8259 Choppee Road, Georgetown, SC 29440
  • Waccamaw Neck Library: 41 Street, Paul’s Place, Pawleys Island, SC 29440

Greenville

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 301 University Ridge, Suite 1900, Greenville, SC 29601
  • Greenwood
  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 600 Monument Street, Suite 113, Greenwood, SC 29646

Hampton

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 201 Jackson Avenue W., Hampton, SC 29924
  • Estill Bull Durham Center: 380 Railroad Avenue N., Estill, SC 29918
  • Yemassee Community Center: 10 Mixon Street, Yemassee, SC 29945

Horry

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 1515 4th Avenue, Conway, SC 29526
  • Carolina Forest Library: 2250 Carolina Forest Blvd, Myrtle Beach, SC 29579
  • North Strand Recreation Center: 120 Highway 57 S, Little River, SC 29566
  • South Strand Recreation Center: 9650 Scipio Lane, Myrtle Beach, SC 29588

Jasper

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office:1506 Grays Highway, Unit A, Ridgeland, SC 29936

Kershaw

  • Camden City Arena: 420 Broad Street, Camden, SC 29020

Lancaster

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 101 North Main Street, Lancaster, SC 29720
  • Indian Land High School: 6100 Charlotte Highway, Indian Land, SC 29707

Laurens

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 105 Bolt Dr, Suite B, Laurens, SC 29360

Lee

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 101 Gregg Street, Bishopville, SC 29010
  • Lynchburg Police Department Building: 106 Main Street, Lynchburg, SC 29080

Lexington

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 605 West Main Street, Suite C, Lexington, SC 29072

Marion

  • Marion County Administration Building: 2523 E. Highway 76, Room 108, Marion, SC 29571

Marlboro

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 119 S Marlboro Street, Bennettsville, SC 29512

McCormick

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 610 South Mine Street, McCormick, SC 29835

Newberry

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 1872 Wilson Road, Newberry SC, 29108

Oconee

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 415 South Pine Street, Walhalla, SC 29691

Orangeburg

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 1475 Amelia Street, Orangeburg, SC 29115
  • Orangeburg County North Library: 4585 Main Street, North, SC 29112
  • Vance Senior Center: 1304 Old Number Six Highway, Vance, SC 29163

Pickens

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 222 McDaniel Avenue, Pickens, SC 29671
  • Captain Kimberly Hampton Memorial Library: 304 Biltmore Road, Easley, SC 29640
  • Central-Clemson Library: 105 Commons Way, Central, SC 29630

Richland

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 2020 Hampton Street, Columbia, SC 29204
  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office (2nd Location): 2011 Hampton Street, Columbia, SC 29204
  • Ballentine Community Center: 1053 Bird Road, Irmo, SC 29061
  • Garners Ferry Adult Activity Center: 8620 Garners Ferry Road, Hopkins, SC 29061
  • Parklane Adult Activity Center: 7494 Parklane Road, Columbia, SC 29223

Saluda

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 702 Batesburg Highway, Saluda, SC 29138
  • Spartanburg
  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 366 North Church Street, Spartanburg, SC 29303

Sumter

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 141 North Main Street, Sumter, SC 29150
  • Delaine Elementary School: 5355 Cane Savannah Rd. Wedgefield, 29168
  • St. John Elementary School: 4515 Narrow Paved Road, Lynchburg, SC 29080

Union

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 1246 S. Duncan Bypass, Union, SC 29379

Williamsburg

  • Alex Chatman Auditorium: 147 West Main Street, Kingstree, SC 29556
  • JJ Mitcheom Community Center: 2233 Hemingway Highway, Hemingway, SC 29554

York

  • County Voter Registration and Elections Office: 6 S Congress Street, Suite 1201, York, SC 29745

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