The November 2020 General Election: Registration and Election Day Voting
By Steve Hamelman, et al.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a Democrat.
If you’re a Democrat, you’d like to see the defeat, through fair elections, of President Donald Trump, Senator Lindsay Graham, Rep. Tom Rice and other Republicans responsible for nearly four years of bad “leadership.”
For this defeat to happen, you have to vote.
And to vote you must first make sure (1) your voter registration is in order, making sure your address in the system exactly matches the photo ID you will bring to the polls, (2) you know the location of your polling station, and (3) you’re aware of the available methods of voting in case you prefer not to vote in person at said polling station.
For regarding number (3), even the most diehard Democrat may feel anxious this time around.
Why? Because of the historic gamechanger known variously as the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and the global pandemic.
Please be aware that the Horry County Voter Registration and Elections Board is taking every precaution to make in person voting as safe as possible. All Poll Workers are required to wear masks and gloves. In addition, hand sanitizer is available for all voters and staff. A clear plastic shield will be in place at the check in desk between the voter and the Poll Worker. All pens and voting machines will be wiped down with alcohol after each voter and social distancing will be enforced. Although it is not required that voters wear masks, we encourage you to wear masks when voting in person either on election day or In-Person Absentee.
Since this is, in the words of Horry County Democratic Party (HCDP) Chair Don Kohn, “the most consequential election of our lifetime,” we must not let the pandemic keep us from participating in the upcoming general election.
A safe way to vote is within the reach of every voter.
Here, in the first of two articles, HCDP explains the options available to everyone (including Independents and fed-up Republicans) burning to cast a ballot for a Democratic candidate in the general election on November 3, 2020.
This piece focuses on registration; the next article will focus on absentee voting.
Quickly Approaching Deadline
If you’re eligible to vote, you must register or confirm that you’re currently registered, and you should do so sooner rather than later.
This is because, to quote the South Carolina Election Commission (SCEC), “in order to vote, South Carolina law requires one must first register to vote at least 30 days prior to the election.”
To repeat: the next election is November 3, 2020, which means you must be registered to vote by October 3, 2020.
The deadline for in-person registration is October 2 by 5:00 pm at the Voter Registration and Elections office in Conway. Check the website for weekend hours.
When mailing in your registration, the envelope must be postmarked by October 5. Make sure you include a copy of your driver’s license, learner’s permit or other DMV photo ID.
Registration online or via fax (843-915-6440) must be submitted before 11:59pm October 4.
All aspects of the registration process are found at the SCEC’s website scvotes.gov.
This indispensable resource has links to Voter Request Information, where voters can check their registration status, confirm their address, determine their precinct and the verify the location of their polling station.
South Carolina allows three ways to register:
- Mail, email, or fax
- In person
Similarly, there are three ways to vote:
- In-Person on election day at your polling station
- In-Person Absentee
- Mail- In Absentee
These options make it possible for voters to do their civic duty without putting their health at risk. If you wish to vote, there is little to prevent you from exercising that right. See the article The November 2020 General Election – Absentee Voting for information on In-Person and Mail-In Absentee options.
To vote either in person at your designated polling station or in person-absentee at a designated government location, you need to present one photo I.D. from this list:
- Valid South Carolina driver’s license (either a standard license or a REAL I.D. acquired through the Department of Motor Vehicles)
- SC Department of Motor Vehicles I.D. card
- SC Concealed Weapons Permit
- SC Voter Registration Card with Photo (paper or card)
- Federal Military I.D. (all Department of Defense Photo I.D.s and Veterans Affairs Benefits Card)
- S. Passport or U.S. Passport Card
When you check in to vote, the address on your I.D. has to match the address on the voting roll.
Polling Stations – In-Person Voting
Note: As in the Primary election in June, some polling stations may be closed for the General Election. Verify your polling station before going to the polls by visiting scvotes.gov or the HCDP website. It is recommended to check no more than 2 days before election day November 3 in case of last-minute changes.
Due to current staffing issues, polling stations are subject to sudden closure, consolidation, and/or relocation. There were 131 polling places which were relocated statewide for the Democratic primary in June. Consolidating and closing polling places leaves many voters unsure of where to vote, potentially disenfranchising them.
Any change to polling locations have yet to be officially announced. It is best to double-check your precinct location before setting out to vote on November 3.
Keep Up With Election Changes
HCDP wants to make sure your vote counts by keeping you informed.
Any changes to polling stations or requirements for absentee voting will be communicated from HCDP on our website, via the newsletter and on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). You can sign up for our newsletter here.
Information on absentee voting can be found in the second article in this series The November 2020 General Election – Absentee Voting.