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Absentee voting guide for Charleston, SC

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Hey, Charleston. Let’s talk about voting by mail. If you’re planning to vote by mail this fall, keep reading for more info on how to get your ballot + answers to all your FAQs.

Is this the same thing as mail-in ballots or mail-in voting?

Yes. Different states have different rules and regulations governing absentee and mail-in ballots, but for the purposes of the 2020 elections in SC, they are effectively the same thing.

Will absentee ballots be mailed automatically to all registered voters?

No. Absentee ballots will be mailed to voters who request them beginning October 5.

What are the requirements for voting absentee?

✔️ To vote absentee, you must meet 1 of the 18 criteria listed here.
✔️ To issue an official request to vote Absentee By Mail, you must submit the State Absentee Ballot Request Form.
✔️ The form must be completed in its entirety, signed, and returned by the voter or a close relative, legal guardian, or multi-partisan assistance team (MAT) assigned to assist voters.
✔️ Next, make sure to sign the voter’s oath. Previously, the ballot also needed to be signed by a witness, but a ruling on Sept. 21 by US District Judge Michelle Childs removed that requirement. 
✔️ Place your ballot in the ballot here-in envelope + put that envelope in the return envelope.
✔️ As always, military personnel and overseas voters qualify for special voting options. Learn more about those options here. 

Is photo ID required to vote absentee?

If you are absentee voting in-person, you will need to present a photo ID. See the requirements here.

What is the deadline for voting absentee?

🗓️ Voters may submit requests for absentee ballots through Friday, October 31.
🗓️ In order to be counted, absentee ballots must be received by the Elections Board no later than 7 p.m. on election day, Tuesday, November 3.
🗓️ It is highly recommended that if you plan on voting absentee, you request your ballot now and return the completed form at least two weeks prior to election day to ensure timely processing.

Is absentee voting secure?

✔️ Absentee voter requests are kept confidential through election day.
✔️ Poll workers can identify voters who have already voted absentee; therefore they will be unable to vote again on election day.
✔️ In our state, voter fraud is a felony punishable by imprisonment, a fine, or both.

This is part of our ongoing election coverage. You can learn more about our Editorial Ethics Policy and how we prioritize information regarding the upcoming elections here.