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How to Register, Vote and Track Your Ballot in South Carolina

En español | South Carolina lawmakers passed a bill in May 2022 allowing voters to cast ballots early and in person to beat the lines on Election Day.

Essential Info:

  • 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: All registered voters can vote early and in person at county voter registration and elections offices.
  • Voting at the polls: 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.

How do I register to vote?

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.

Does my party affiliation matter when I vote in the primaries?

South Carolina does not register voters by party, so you can choose which party’s primary you want to vote in. But you can vote in only one party’s primary.

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.

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.

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. Your county may also use additional locations, so contact your local board of voter registration for more information.

What do I need to know about voting at the polls on Election Day?

You'll be able to cast a ballot as long as you're in line before polls close. 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 Nov. 11 with more information about voting in South Carolina. It was first published on July 15, 2020, and has been updated with information about how to vote in 2022.

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