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What Happens Without a Qualifying Photo ID?

This is the first Presidential election under South Carolina’s photo ID law.  Most attention has been on what qualifies as an acceptable photo ID and how voters can obtain one. But what happens when a voter without a photo ID goes to vote? Here are likely situations on Election Day and how people without a photo ID will be able to vote.

If you don’t have your ID with you

If you forgot your photo ID, you have two options:

1)  Go get your photo ID and return to vote a regular ballot on the machine in your precinct polling location.

provisional-ballot-envelope2)  Ask for a Provisional Ballot. This is a paper ballot which will be placed in a sealed envelope. The Poll Clerk will give you a Notice of Provisional Ballot Hearing, with the location, date and time of the County Elections Commission (CEC) meeting (Friday, Nov.11 in Conway). You must attend this meeting in person to present your photo ID for your ballot to count.

If you don’t have a photo ID

If you do not have a photo ID, you will be asked for your paper voter registration card, and if there was a Reasonable Impediment that kept you from obtaining a photo ID.

(If you don’t have your paper voter registration card, you can go get it and return to vote a Provisional Ballot.)

sc-voter-registration-card_imgWith your paper voter registration card, the Poll Clerk or Poll Manager will complete the Voter Information Section of the Provisional Ballot Envelope. You will then complete the Reasonable Impediment Affidavit in Section D of the Provisional Ballot Envelope.

­What is a Reasonable Impediment? It could be a religious objection, a disability or illness, work schedule, lack of transportation, lack of a birth certificate, family responsibilities, or any other obstacle that the voter finds reasonable. Only the voter determines what is reasonable. As long as it’s true, only you can say whether any particular obstacle created a reasonable impediment to obtaining a photo ID. Poll Clerks, Poll Managers and other election officials do not determine the reasonableness of the claimed impediment.

Your Provisional Ballot will count under Reasonable Impediment unless the County Elections Commission has grounds to believe that the affidavit is false. In other words, the CEC would have to have convincing evidence that you are either not who you claim to be or that you lied about your impediment. There is no need to attend the Provisional Ballot Hearing.

However, if you say there was no reasonable impediment that prevented you from obtaining a photo ID, your provisional ballot will NOT count unless you present one of the qualifying photo IDs to the CEC prior to the certification of the election. You will be provided with a Notice of Provisional Ballot Hearing. The Poll Manager will inform you that you may obtain a free photo ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Horry County Voters Registration and Elections office in Conway.


Call HCDP at (843)488-4237 or by email or via our website.


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