Why’s it so hard to vote in South Carolina?

South Carolina has a list of election troubles as long as, well, those notorious lines of voters wrapping around the block and down the street that you see plastered across the news. Many of the issues stem from poor resourcing. Others are borne out of the state’s desire for secure elections but seem to come at the cost of voter participation.

Here are some of the problems we’ve seen reported:

  • No early voting
  • Complex absentee voting
  • Tricky voter registration
  • Strict voter ID laws that may be confusing
  • Lack of voter outreach and education
  • Votes being lost or improperly counted
  • Recount deadlines being missed
  • Extraordinarily long waits to vote
  • Receiving incorrect ballots
  • Insufficient, inexperienced, untrained, unhelpful or incompetent election staff
  • Lack of social distancing
  • Insufficient polling facilities
  • Confusion caused by polling stations that are used for multiple precincts
  • Election system that might not be equipped to handle a surge in early or absentee/mail-in ballots

So, if you’ve already voted, awesome! You’re a real trooper for persevering and getting you ballot cast.

If you haven’t voted yet: You now know what you might be up against. BUT, knowledge is power. Armed with South Carolina election info, you’ll be an unstoppable ballot-casting master voter.

We want to help you make sure your ballot’s cast and counted. So, keep reading to find out all you need to know about how to vote in South Carolina.

Before You Vote: Make Sure You’re Registered

Before you can request a ballot or vote, you need to be registered to vote. The address that you register with dictates what’s on your ballot and where you vote.

Go Vote!

You have a lot of options when it comes to how, when and where you can vote. We encourage you to vote early if you can, to avoid crowds and ensure your ballot’s received before the deadline.

Voting by Absentee Mail-In Ballot

For the 2020 general election only, all South Carolina voters are eligible to vote early by mail-in absentee ballot under the “State of Emergency” reason.

Early Voting by Absentee In-Person Ballot

For the 2020 general election only, all South Carolina voters are eligible to vote early by in-person absentee ballot under the “State of Emergency” reason.

Election Day In-Person Voting

Nothing beats the thrill of voting in person at your official polling station on Election Day! The key to making the day successful — as well as exciting — is being prepared.

Voting in Person: COVID-19 Precautions

Voting IRL can be as safe as going to the grocery store. The key is to follow CDC guidelines for coronavirus prevention and good ol’ common sense. To recap, though, here are the highlights:

  • Before you go to the polls, screen yourself for any new symptoms of COVID-19. If you feel ill, do not go to the polling place! (You don’t want to chance getting others sick.) You should be able to find an alternate way to vote.
  • Observe social distancing. Try to keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others.
  • Minimize the number of surfaces you touch and the amount of time you’re touching them.
    • Bring your own pen.
    • Bring some cotton swabs. You can use them to push buttons on the voting machines (if your machine has buttons).
    • Consider wearing disposable gloves.
  • Bring your own hand sanitizer. Disinfect your hands when you enter and leave the polling place.
  • Wear a face covering. Make sure it’s over your nose and mouth. Some people also like to wear a face shield or other eye protection.


South Carolina’s a state with a bad rep when it comes to voter access. Thankfully, at least, the governor has expanded absentee voting (due to COVID-19) for this upcoming general election. So, hopefully you’ll find it much easier to vote.

Your voice matters so it’s critical to have your vote counted. To do so, make a voting plan. The info above for voting by absentee or in person should help. And, here are some links to more great resources:

Get your friends and family involved, too. Staying civically engaged is for everyone! And, if you need some ideas on how to have a healthful and productive Election Day, check out these tips.

Let’s #IGNITEthevote together! The first step is preparing yourself to vote in your state.