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S 635 - Expands Access to Absentee Voting - South Carolina Key Vote

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Title: Expands Access to Absentee Voting

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to adopt a conference report that expands access to absentee voting during the COVID-19 state of emergency.



  • Requires the authority charged with conducting an election publish 2 notices of general, municipal, special, and primary elections held in the county in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or municipality (Sec. 1.A).

  • Requires the newspaper election notices provide the following information, including (Sec. 1.A):

    • Notice on the final date an individual is allowed to register to vote;

    • Information on the date, time and location of the on the hearing of ballots challenged in the election;

    • A list of precincts involved in the election and location of polling places in each of the precincts; and

    • Notification of the process used for examining the return-addressed envelopes containing absentee ballots that begin at 9:00 am on the date following an election.

  • Specifies that all return-addressed envelopes received by the county board of registration and election are required to be returned by the time polls close in order to be counted in said election or primary and authorizes the board to not count ballots if believe the ballot oath is not properly signed (Sec. 1.B).

  • Requires an election authority to provide reasonable notice to an individual whose ballot is being challenged and not open the return-addressed envelope (Sec. 1.C).

  • Authorities other methods of voting by absentee ballot in place of paper ballots but prohibits any voting machine or voting system other than a paper-based system from being used (Sec. 1.C).

  • Requires that in order to vote by absentee ballot a qualified elector or member of their immediate family requests an application to vote by absentee ballot in person, by telephone, or by mail from the county board of voter registration and elections (Sec. 1.E).

  • Requires that the immediate family member requesting an absentee ballot for a qualified elector be themselves a registered voter and sign an oath form which shall be kept on file for next calendar year specifying that they fit the statutory definition (Sec. 1.E).

  • Prohibits a candidate themselves, campaign staff, or volunteers or said campaign from requesting applications for absentee voting (Sec. 1.E).

  • Specifies that absentee ballot requests may be made at any point during the calendar year (Sec. 1.E).

  • Authorizes individuals hospitalized on election day to have 4 days to obtain an absentee application and return it to a county board of voter registration (Sec. 1.E).