Arthur Ravenel Bridge

Absentee Voting

Recent Absentee Changes

  • All recent absentee changes are no longer in effect as of July 1, 2020.

Procedures for voting by absentee ballot: 

Qualified voters (see below) may vote absentee in person or by mail.

In Person

Visit the county voter registration office in your county of residence, complete an application, and cast your ballot.  You may vote absentee in person up until 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election.  Rules for photo ID required to vote at the polling place apply.

Additional in-person absentee locations are available in some counties for some elections. 

By Mail

Follow these steps to vote absentee by mail.  Photo ID is not required to vote absentee by mail.

Step 1: Get an absentee application in one of two ways:

See complete rules below on requesting applications for other voters.

Step 2:  You've now printed your application online or received your application in the mail.  You must now complete and sign the application and return it to your county voter registration office. You should return the application as soon as possible but no later than 5:00 p.m. on the 4th day prior to the election (the 4th day is Friday for all Tuesday elections).  You may return the application by mail, email, fax, or personal delivery. 

Step 3:  Receive your absentee ballot in the mail. Voters who have applied early will be mailed their absentee ballot around 30 days before the election.

Step 4:  Vote the ballot following ballot instructions and return it to the county voter registration office in your county of residence by 7:00 p.m. on the day of the election.  You may return the ballot personally or by mail.  You may also have another person return the ballot for you, but you must first complete an authorization to return absentee ballot form, available from your county voter registration office.

Click here for the address, phone number, fax number, and email address of your county voter registration and elections office.

Persons qualified to vote by absentee ballot:

  1. Members of the Armed Forces (click here for additional information)
  2. Members of the Merchant Marine (click here for additional information)
  3. Spouses and dependents residing with members of the Armed Forces or Merchant Marine (click here for additional information)
  4. Persons serving with the American Red Cross or with the United Service Organizations (USO) who are attached to and serving with the Armed Forces outside their county of residence and their spouses and dependents residing with them (click here for additional information)
  5. Citizens residing overseas (click here for additional information)
  6. Persons who are physically disabled (includes illnesses and injuries)
  7. Students attending school outside their county of residence and their spouses and dependents residing with them
  8. Persons who for reasons of employment will not be able to vote on election day
  9. Government employees serving outside their county of residence on Election Day and their spouses and dependents residing with them
  10. Persons who plan to be on vacation outside their county of residence on Election Day
  11. Persons serving as a juror in state or federal court on Election Day
  12. Persons admitted to the hospital as emergency patients on Election Day or within a four-day period before the election
  13. Persons with a death or funeral in the family within three days before the election
  14. Persons confined to a jail or pre-trial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial
  15. Persons attending sick or physically disabled persons
  16. Certified poll watchers, poll managers, and county election officials working on Election Day
  17. Persons sixty-five years of age or older
  18. Persons who for religious reasons do not want to vote on a Saturday (Presidential Primaries Only)

Check the Status of Your Absentee Ballot

Absentee Voting Procedures for Military and Overseas Citizens.  Click here to visit the Military and Overseas Citizens page.

Absentee Voting Procedures for Residential Care Facilities

Who Can Request an Application/Return an Absentee Ballot

  • Voters may request an absentee ballot in person, by phone (except authorized representatives), by mail, or by contacting your county voter registration office in the county in which you are registered. County Voter Registration Contact Information.
  • The voter, a member of the voter's immediate family, or the voter's authorized representative may request the absentee ballot application.  An authorized representative is a registered voter who, with a voter's permission, can request an absentee ballot application on behalf of a voter who qualifies because of illness or disability. Candidates and paid campaign workers may not serve as authorized representatives.
  • Voters admitted to the hospital as an emergency patient on the day of the election or within four days of the election can have an immediate family member apply and carry a ballot to the voter.
  • To have your absentee ballot returned by a person other than yourself, it is necessary for the absentee voter to compete an "Authorization to Return Absentee Ballot Form". The absentee voter completes Part I, and the person returning the ballot completes Part II of the form. Candidates and paid campaign workers may not return absentee ballots unless they are an immediate family member of the voter.

Additional Absentee Voting Rules

  • Your completed absentee ballot must be placed in the "Ballots Herein" envelope provided with your absentee ballot. The "Ballots Herein" envelope will then be placed inside a "Return Envelope" which you must sign and have witnessed before returning. 
  • State law requires the voter to sign the application for an absentee ballot and oath on the envelope used to return the absentee ballot.  A "power of attorney" is not applicable for voting.  Voters unable to write because of physical handicap or illiteracy may receive help in applying for and marking their ballot. The voter must make his/her mark and have the mark witnessed by someone chosen by the voter. 
  • For more information regarding voter registration and absentee voting, contact your County Voter Registration Office.