Frequently Asked Questions

Winthrop University strongly encourages all members of the Winthrop community to be actively engaged as citizens. Here are some answers to questions about registering to vote and voting laws in South Carolina.


FAQ question When are the next opportunities to vote in South Carolina?
FAQ answer For a complete list of elections, consult SCVotes. For all 50 states and nationally, click here.


FAQ question What is the deadline to register to vote? 
FAQ answer In South Carolina you must be registered at least 30 days prior to any election in order to vote in that election. Registration by mail applications must be postmarked at least 30 days prior to the date of that particular election to be eligible. If the deadline falls on a Sunday or U.S. Postal Service holiday, the postmark deadline is extended to the next day that is not a Sunday or holiday. 


FAQ question Who is eligible to register to vote?
FAQ answer 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 in the county and precinct in which you are registering
  • 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.


FAQ question  I'm a Winthrop student. How and where can I register to vote?
FAQ answer  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. If you live on campus, be sure to use your residence hall address on your voter registration form (not your PO Box).

South Carolina Voter Registration: Students who wish to register to vote in South Carolina may register to vote online. 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, one 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.

Winthrop students should also take advantage of Winthrop’s TurboVote website! This is a one-stop-shop for checking your registration status, getting registered anywhere in the country, and signing up for election reminders for your district. TurboVote will even help you with stamps and envelopes if you need to mail in a paper form. Please take advantage of this amazing service!


FAQ question  I don't live in South Carolina. How can I register to vote in my home state?
FAQ answer  Please begin with Winthrop’s TurboVote website. Here you can find registration information for your district, and TurboVote will help you get registered to vote, check your registration status, and also send you election reminders. Please note that registration forms and deadlines vary by state.


FAQ question  I think I registered to vote, but my voter registration card hasn't arrived. What can I do?
FAQ answer  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.


FAQ question  How can I check my Voter Registration?
FAQ answer  States periodically purge their voter rolls to remove deceased and inactive voters and people who have moved. South Carolinians can check their voter registration at Residents of other states can access their state election office through the US Election Assistance Commission. Please do so well before your state's voter registration deadline.


FAQ question Where should I register to vote?
FAQ answer  Winthrop students are eligible to register to vote at any address that they consider their permanent residence. That may be your parent's or guardian’s house, your residence hall room on campus, or elsewhere.


FAQ question  I moved since the last election. Do I need to re-register?
FAQ answer  Yes. Please complete a new voter registration form and return it to the appropriate county board of elections before the next voter registration deadline. The voter registration deadline is 30 days before the next primary or general election. If you miss the deadline, you may still cast a provisional ballot at your old precinct. However, your vote may not be counted. For out of state students: deadlines vary by state. Please consult your state's election agency for details.


FAQ question  What is the South Carolina Voter ID Law?
FAQ answer  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 the SC Approved ID page.


FAQ question Does South Carolina allow early voting?

FAQ answer Yes! In-person early voting runs for 15 days before an election, except Sundays. Polls are open each day 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day. Voting takes place at your county election office. SC locations can be found here. You will need valid government issued photo ID.

Some other states, including North Carolina, allow early voting as well. Please check your state’s election website for information.


FAQ question  How can I vote absentee in South Carolina?
FAQ answer South Carolina voters may vote absentee by mail. All county election commission offices allow registered voters to vote absentee by mail if you meet the rules. You must request an absentee ballot from your county election commission in advance. You may use this handy form. However, you must print it off and sign it. Please check with your county to determine how it may be returned.  

This state website has absentee voting rules as well.

Be sure to include the reason that you cannot get to the polls on Election Day in your request. There are the eight accepted reasons  in South Carolina for voting absentee.

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, so plan accordingly. Late, faxed, or e-mailed ballots will not be accepted or counted.


FAQ question  How can I request an absentee ballot if I'm registered outside South Carolina?
FAQ answer Visit the US Election Assistance Commission web site and find the link to your home state's election office web site. There you will find information on how to request your absentee ballot. Please note, there are a few states that require first time voters to vote in-person, this requirement should be noted on your state’s election website. 


FAQ question Where do I go to vote on Election Day?
FAQ answer Your voting location is based upon the precinct in which you are registeredUnless 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. If you sign up for TurboVote, a reminder with your polling location will also be sent to you.  


FAQ question What do I need to take to the polls on Election Day?
FAQ answer  Under current South Carolina law, a voter needs to present a valid South Carolina ID. Options are:

  • A valid SC Driver’s License
  • SC Department of Motor Vehicles ID Card
  • SC Concealed Weapons Permit
  • SC Voter Registration Card with Photo
  • US Passport
  • Federal Military ID, includes all Department of Defense Photo IDs and the Department of Veterans Affairs Benefits Card


FAQ question How can I do my civic duty and get paid to be a Poll Manager?

FAQ answer 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.