Winthrop University strongly encourages all members of the Winthrop community to be actively engaged as citizens. This document is intended to answer questions about registering to vote and voting laws in South Carolina.
When is the next opportunity to vote in South Carolina?
The next opportunity to vote in South Carolina is the fall general election on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Candidates for US President, US Senate, US House of Representatives and numerous state and local officials will be on the ballot.
What is the deadline to register to vote?
Deadlines vary by state. In South Carolina, the deadline is 30 days prior to the election. Thus the deadline to register for the November 8, 2016 general election is October 8, 2016.
Who is eligible to register to vote in the November 8, 2016 election?
Any United States citizen who will be 18 by November 8, 2016 may register to vote in the November election. Voters who will turn 18 by November 8, 2016 may register any time after September 23, 2015.
All eligible voters must be residents of the South Carolina county and precinct in which they are registered. Other exemptions are explained on the South Carolina State Election Commission website.
I'm a Winthrop student. How and where can I register to vote?
Students who are eligible to vote may register in York County, if they consider York County their permanent residence, or may choose to register at another location, such as their parents' home.
South Carolina Voter Registration: Students who wish to register to vote in South Carolina may register to vote on-line. This form may be used in any county. Applicants must have a South Carolina Driver's License or state-issued ID and enter this number into the on-line form.
Alternatively, on may complete a voter registration paper form and mail it to the relevant county board of elections. Visit the South Carolina State Election Commission website for contact information for each county in South Carolina. The address of the York County Board of Elections is: York County Board of Voter Registration: E. C. Black Building 13 South Congress Street York SC 29745
I don't live in South Carolina. How can I register to vote in my home state?
You need to consult your state election agency for specific details. To find your state election agency, please consult the Election Assistance Commission website. The United States Election Assistance Commission, a federal government agency, has developed a national voter registration form. This form may be used in every state except North Dakota and Wyoming; this form may be used under limited circumstances in New Hampshire. The form and detailed instructions are available online. Please note that registration forms and deadlines vary by state. Information listed here is only relevant to South Carolina and/or York County.
You can also visit "How to Register to Vote in Every US State and Territory" on the CNN Politics website for more information.
I think I registered to vote, but my voter registration card hasn't arrived. What can I do?
If you registered to vote in South Carolina, you may check your voter registration online. Students who are registered to vote in another state should check with their state's election agency.
Where should I register to vote?
Winthrop students are eligible to register to vote at any address that they consider their permanent residence. That may be your parent's house, your residence hall room on campus, or elsewhere.
I moved since the last election. Do I need to re-register?
Yes. Please complete a new voter registration form and return it to the appropriate county board of elections, before the October 8, 2016 deadline. If you miss this deadline, you may still cast a provisional ballot at your old precinct; however, you vote may not be counted. For out of state students: deadlines vary by state. Please consult with your state's election agency for details.
What is the South Carolina Voter ID Law?
Beginning January 1, 2013, all voters must show one of the following photo IDs at their polling places: SC Driver's License, ID Card issued by the SC Department of Motor Vehicles, SC Voter Registration Card with a photo on it, Federal Military ID, US Passport, or State issued concealed weapons permit. For more information, please see SC Votes page.
Does South Carolina allow early voting?
Some states, including North Carolina, allow early voting, whereby voters may cast their ballots at designated locations for days or weeks before Election Day. South Carolina does NOT allow early voting. If a voter cannot get to the polls on Election Day, s/he must request an absentee ballot. Voters may vote absentee in person at their county election commission office up until 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election. Voters will complete an absentee ballot application on site and will need to produce a valid photo ID.
How can I get an absentee ballot?
You must request an absentee ballot from their county election commission by mail in advance. You may use this handy form. However, you must print it off and mail it to your county election office. There is no electronic submission. Otherwise, you may request a ballot by letter. Be sure to include the reason that you can not get to the polls on Election Day in your request.
After you receive your ballot, complete the ballot according to the instructions provided. You can return is by mail to your county election commission or you may hand deliver the ballot. In any case, your ballot must arrive at the county election commission office before closing (7:00 p.m.) on Election Day (November 8), so plan accordingly. Late, faxed, or emailed ballots will not be accepted or counted.
Voters may vote absentee in person at their county election commission office up until 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election. Voters will complete an absentee ballot application on site and will need to produce a valid photo ID.For more information, contact the South Carolina Election Commission.
Where do I go to vote on Election Day?
Your voting location is based upon the precinct in which you are registered. Unless you vote absentee, you must travel to the polling place designated for your precinct. In South Carolina, the name of your precinct is listed on your voter registration card. Polling locations are available from your county's election commission and are published widely in local media.
What do I need to take to the polls on Election Day?
Under current South Carolina law, a voter needs to present a valid South Carolina Driver's License, or a valid South Carolina ID issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, or any of the above IDs mentioned under the SC Voter ID Law. Please visit this website for election day details. Requirements in other states may vary. Please consult your state's election agency for details.
How can I become a Poll Manager?
Poll Managers are residents of the county who work at the polls on primary and general election days. Poll Managers ensure that only duly registered voters cast ballots and help voters who request assistance in casting their ballots. Poll Managers are registered voters of the county in which they work and who have undergone the necessary training. Teenagers (ages 16 and 17) may work at the polls as Poll Manager Assistants. In York County, these workers receive a stipend for training and working the polls on Election Day. If you are interested in becoming a Poll Manager, please contact your county election office.
Disclaimer: The Winthrop University John C. West Forum on Politics and Policy believes this information is current and factually correct. However, it does not constitute legal advice, nor does it supersede any information provided by state or local election officials.