Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Voting & Elections Toolkits

Voter Registration in South Carolina

Eligibility

In order to vote, South Carolina law requires one must first register to vote at least 30 days prior to the election. To be eligible to register in South Carolina you MUST:

  • be a United States citizen
  • be at least eighteen years old on or before the next election
  • be a resident of South Carolina, this county and precinct
  • not be under a court order declaring you mentally incompetent
  • not be confined in any public prison resulting from a conviction of a crime
  • have never been convicted of a felony or offense against the election laws OR if previously convicted, have served the entire sentence, including probation or parole, or have received a pardon for the conviction.

More information is available at SCVotes.org.

Deadline

  • In order to vote, South Carolina law requires one must first register to vote at least 30 days prior to the election. Registration by mail applications must be postmarked at least 30 days prior to that particular election to be eligible.
  • January 30, 2020 is the deadline for in-person registration and postmark of mail-in registration for the 2020 primary elections.
  • October 2, 2020 is the deadline to register to vote in person for the general election (unless county board holds weekend hours).
  • October 4, 2020 is the deadline to register to vote online or by fax or email for the general election.
  • October 5, 2020 is the deadline to register to vote by mail for the general election (must be postmarked by this date). 
  • Election Calendar

Online registration

To use the online voter registration system you must have a current and valid driver’s license or DMV ID issued by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Online registration form

Mail-in registration

Printable form - This form can be completed and returned to your county board of voter registration by mail, fax, or email.

Voters are not registered by political party in South Carolina.

Refer to the box below for information about ID requirements.                

Updating registration      

If you have an S.C. Driver's License or DMV ID card, you can update your address using the online voter registration application.

You can also download a change of address form and mail, fax, or scan the completed form to your County Board of Voter Registration.  

Canceling registration

The Board of Voter Registration in each county maintains the voter rolls. To remove someone from a voter roll, contact the local County Board of Voter Registration. 

ID Requirements for South Carolina Voters

ID Requirements for Registration

Online Registration

For online voter registration, an S.C. Driver's License or DMV ID is required.

Mail-in Registration

An ID is not required for mail-in registration, but you must provide one of the documents listed on the form to verify residence:

  • current valid photo ID
  • copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or another government document that shows your name and address in this county.

If you do not provide the identification with the form, you will be required to provide this information when you vote. Voters who are age 65 and over, voters with disabilities, members of the U.S. Uniformed Services or Merchant Marines and their families, and U.S. citizens residing outside the U.S. are exempt from this requirement.

ID Requirements for Voting

When voting in person, you will be asked to show one of the following Photo IDs at your polling place:

  • SC Driver's License
  • SC Department of Motor Vehicles ID Card
    • Includes SC Concealed Weapons Permit
  • SC Voter Registration Card with Photo
  • Federal Military ID
    • Includes all Department of Defense Photo IDs and Veterans Affairs Benefits Card
  • US Passport
    • Includes US Passport ID Card

IF YOU FORGET TO BRING YOUR PHOTO ID TO YOUR POLLING PLACE:

You may vote a provisional ballot that will count only if you show your Photo ID to the election commission prior to certification of the election (usually Thursday or Friday after the election).

IF YOU CAN'T GET A PHOTO ID:

Bring your non-photo voter registration card with you to the polling place. You may vote a provisional ballot after signing an affidavit stating you have a reasonable impediment to obtaining a Photo ID. A reasonable impediment is any valid reason, beyond your control, which created an obstacle to obtaining a Photo ID.

Some examples include:

  • a disability or illness
  • a conflict with your work schedule
  • a lack of transportation
  • a lack of a birth certificate
  • family responsibilities
  • a religious objection to being photographed
  • any other obstacle you find reasonable

This ballot will count unless someone proves to the election commission that you are lying about your identity or about having the listed impediment.

To vote under the reasonable impediment exception:

Inform the poll managers that you do not have a photo ID and could not get one.

  • Present your current, non-photo registration card.
  • Sign the affidavit provided by the poll managers stating why you could not obtain a Photo ID.
  • Cast a provisional ballot that will be counted unless the county election commission has reason to believe your affidavit is false.

For more information, please see the Photo ID Requirements to vote in South Carolina.

Where to get an ID

County Board of Voter Registration

Registered voters can get a voter registration card with a photo from their County Board of Voter Registration with their name, date of birth and the last four digits of the Social Security Number.

Department of Motor Vehicles

Obtaining a Driver’s License

 

Casting a Ballot in South Carolina

Important Dates

  • Democratic Primary Election: February 29, 2020
  • Statewide Primary Election: June 9, 2020
  • General Election: November 3, 2020

Absentee voting

Opening/closing dates

  • Absentee ballots for the Democratic primary election will be available January 30, 2020 and will not be issued after February 25, 2020.
  • Absentee ballots for the November 3 general election will be available on October 5, 2020 and will not be issued after October 30, 2020.

 

Military voters and voters who reside outside the U.S.

  • Military and overseas citizens voters can register this status through the Electronic Voting Accessibility Tool
  • Once UOCAVA (Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act) status is in effect, your county election office will send you a ballot through your preferred choice of communication no later than 45 days prior to any election in which you are eligible to vote. Indicate on your FPCA your preferred method of communication with your county elections office. Your preferred method of communication can be mail, fax or email.
  • If you are returning your ballot by email, fax, or personal delivery, your ballot must be returned to the office no later than 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the day of the election. If you are returning your ballot by mail, you must mail your ballot no later than 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the day of the election.

For more information regarding Military & Overseas Citizens, please visit the South Carolina Election Committee.

Who is eligible to use an absentee ballot?

In order to apply for and receive an absentee ballot, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Members of the Armed Forces or Merchant Marine serving outside their county of residence and their spouses and dependents residing with them
  • Persons serving with the American Red Cross or with the United Service Organizations (USO) who are attached to and serving with the Armed Forces outside their county of residence and their spouses and dependents residing with them
  • Overseas Citizens
  • Persons who are physically disabled
  • Students attending school outside their county of residence and their spouses and dependents residing with them
  • Persons who for reasons of employment will not be able to vote on election day
  • Government employees serving outside their county of residence on Election Day and their spouses and dependents residing with them
  • Persons who plan to be on vacation outside their county of residence on Election Day
  • Persons serving as a juror in state or federal court on Election Day Persons admitted to the hospital as emergency patients on Election Day or within a four-day period before the election
  • Persons with a death or funeral in the family within three days before the election
  • Persons confined to a jail or pre-trial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial
  • Persons attending sick or physically disabled persons
  • Certified poll watchers, poll managers, and county election officials working on Election Day
  • Persons sixty-five years of age or older Persons who for religious reasons do not want to vote on a Saturday (Presidential Primaries Only)

Application for Absentee Ballot.

Polling places and hours

  • Use the Voter Information Request online to find your polling place.
  • For a general election or primary, polls in South Carolina Polling places are open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. Anyone in line at 7:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote.
  • Time off to vote: South Carolina does not require employers to give employees time off to vote.

Rides to the polls

Many organizations offer free rides to polling places. Some of these include:

  • Lyft provides free or discounted rides in some underserved communities
  • Political parties sometimes arrange rides for voters. Contact the local office:

Help for voters with disabilities

Curbside voting

Any voter who, because of physical handicap or age (65 or older), cannot enter the polling place in which he is registered to vote, or is unable to stand in line to vote, may vote outside that polling place in the closest available parking area utilizing the vehicle in which he has driven or has been driven to the polls.

Assistance at Poll

Assistance in marking a ballot is allowed only if the voter is blind, illiterate or physically handicapped. A voter entitled to receive assistance may choose anyone to assist except his employer, agent of his employer, or an officer or agent of his union.

For more information regarding Voters with Disabilities, please visit the South Carolina Election Committee.

General Resources on Voting and Elections

General Resources on Voting and Elections


Hotlines


1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)

1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)

1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)


Voter Registration & Election Day Resources

Find useful voter information including:

  • Local Election Office and Contact Information
  • Address, Telephone and Email for Local Election Offices
  • Upcoming Federal Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Upcoming State Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Identification Requirements
  • Voter Materials Transmission Options
  • State Lookup Tools – Am I Registered? Where’s my Ballot?

Population-Specific information and Resources

Voting Rights: Laws, Cases, Policy

Voter Engagement

Voter Education

Campaign Finance/Funding Information

Primary Sources, Lesson Plans & Exhibits

Disclaimer

Librarians from the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT), a Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA), created these reference guides. These guides are intended for informational purposes only and are not in any way intended to be legal advice.

These guides are designated with a Creative Commons license and re-use and modification for educational purposes is encouraged.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.