En español | South Carolina’s Nov. 8 general election will decide races for governor, seats in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, and other state and local contests. The state's primary was June 14.
- Absentee voting: Absentee ballots are available only to some voters, including people 65 and older, those who are sick or physically disabled and those who will be out of town on Election Day. You’ll need a witness signature to cast an absentee ballot.
- Early, in-person voting: Starting this year, all registered voters can vote early and in person at county voter registration and elections offices. Early voting will be held Monday through Saturday from Friday, Oct. 28 through Saturday, Nov. 5.
- Voting in person on Election Day: The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
What's new this year?
State lawmakers in May passed a bill introducing early voting in South Carolina during a two-week window before Election Day.
South Carolina also passed a redistricting plan that splits the city of Charleston, primarily affecting the state’s 1st and 6th districts. It may impact which local candidates appear on your ballot.
What races are on the ballot?
- Governor: Joe Cunningham (D), Henry McMaster (R)
- U.S. Senate: Incumbent Tim Scott (R), Democrats' race heading to runoff
- U.S. House: all seven seats
- State House: all 124 seats
How do I register to vote?
- Online: Use the state’s online voter registration portal. You’ll need a valid South Carolina driver’s license or ID card from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. Or download and complete a registration form, and then fax or email it to your county board of voter registration. Register or update your voter information online by Oct. 9.
- By mail: Download and complete a registration form, and then mail it to your county board of voter registration. Or call your local registration office and ask that a form be mailed to you. Your form must be postmarked by Oct. 11.
- In person: Go to your county board of voter registration by Oct. 7. You can also register while receiving services at your local DMV or at several other types of public assistance agencies.
You can check your registration status using the election commission’s voter information portal. If you recently moved or need to update your voter registration information, you can fill out an online voter registration form, download a change of address form and send it to your county board of voter registration or visit your local registration office.
If you moved but didn’t update your address with the election office by the registration deadline, you should still be able to cast a ballot on Election Day through failsafe voting, though you may have to go to your previous polling place or to your new voter registration office, depending on whether you moved to a new precinct or county. The state election commission’s website has more information about how and where to cast a ballot through failsafe voting.
How can I get an absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?
Only some voters can request an absentee ballot, including anyone age 65 and up, members of the military and their spouses and dependents, and people who are sick or disabled. The state election commission’s website features a full list of those eligible to cast an absentee ballot.
Absentee ballots require a witness signature. Anyone can provide a witness signature — a notary is not necessary.
Those eligible can request a ballot online, by mail or in person.
- Online: Use the election commission’s absentee application portal to download an application. Complete it and email or fax it to your county board of voter registration. Election officials must receive your application by 5 p.m. on Nov. 4 to vote in the general.
- By mail: Download and print an application from the absentee application portal or call your county board of voter registration and ask for a mailed application. Election officials must receive your application by 5 p.m. on Nov. 4, but it’s recommended you return it by Oct. 25 to avoid postal delays.
- In person: Drop off a completed application by 5 p.m. on Nov. 4 to vote in the general election.
Immediate family members can request a ballot on a voter’s behalf. Registered voters who complete an authorized representative form can also pick up a ballot for someone else, as long as those retrieving the ballot are not candidates or paid campaign workers.
Return your completed absentee ballot by mail or in person.
- Mail your ballot to your county board of voter registration. Election officials must receive your ballot by 7 p.m. on Election Day, but it’s recommended to mail it by Nov. 1 to vote in the general election.
- Hand-deliver your ballot to your county board of voter registration by 7 p.m. on Nov. 8 to vote in the general election.
Your ballot can also be returned by someone who completes an authorization to return absentee ballot form. Candidates and paid campaign workers can return a ballot only for an immediate family member.
You can check the status of your ballot by logging in to the state’s absentee ballot information portal or by contacting your local elections office.
Can I vote in person before Election Day?
Yes. Vote early and in person at county voter registration and elections offices Monday through Saturday from Friday, Oct. 28 through Saturday, Nov. 5. Your county may also use additional locations, so contact your local board of voter registration for more information. Offices will be open from 8:30 a.m. through 6 p.m.
When is Election Day? When are polls open?
The general election is Nov. 8; polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can cast a ballot after 7 p.m. if you were in line before the polls closed. Use the state’s voter information portal to find your polling place.
Do I need identification to vote?
If you’re voting in person, either on Election Day or through early voting, you’ll need an acceptable form of identification, such as a South Carolina driver’s license, a U.S. passport or a state voter registration photo ID card. If you forget your ID on Election Day, you can cast a provisional ballot but will need to bring a valid photo ID to your county board of voter registration before the election is certified, which usually happens the Thursday or Friday after an election.
Editor’s note: This guide was updated on June 15 with more information about voting in the general election. It was first published on July 15, 2020, and has been updated with information about how to vote in 2022.