Friday, October 12, 2012
In some states it’s called early voting.
In South Carolina it is absentee voting.
The main difference is in South Carolina you have to have a valid reason for casting a ballot before Election Day.
Absentee voting began in the state on Monday and, so far, it looks like a lot of people are going to the polls before November 6.
Georgetown County Elections Director Donna Mahn said as of midday Tuesday more than 200 people had voted absentee by stopping by the Hazard Street office.
She said she has also received more than 2,200 requests for ballots to be mailed to voters.
Mahn said, based on the current rate, she expects the number of absentee ballots cast this year to exceed the 6,000 cast in 2008.
Mahn said she is a supporter of early voting, or “no excuse” absentee voting as it’s also called.
“Our group as a whole has been asking for early voting for years,” Mahn said, adding lawmakers have stopped the new system from becoming a reality.
Unless there is a change, voters still have to give one of 17 acceptable reasons why they want to vote before Election Day. The most commonly used excuses are:
• Persons age 65 or older
• On vacation
• Physically disabled persons
• Members of the Armed Forces, Merchant Marines, American Red Cross, US Government employees, their spouses and dependents residing with them.
• Students, their spouses, and dependents residing with them, who are away at school
• Employees who will be away because of employment on Election Day
• Persons attending the sick or physically disabled
• Certified poll workers, poll managers, and poll watchers.
Mahn said there are six voting booths set up at the Voter Registration office and there has been a steady stream of voters during the first two days of absentee voting.
So far, four additional temporary workers have been brought in to help with the extra work and more hires are expected later this month.
Any absentee ballots that are mailed in must be in the Voter Registration office by 7 p.m. on Election Day.
By Scott Harper