Arthur Ravenel Bridge

Absentee Voting

New Absentee Rules for the 2020 General Election

Legislation was signed into law on September 16, 2020, that makes significant changes to absentee voting rules for the November 3, 2020 General Election.

  • All voters are now qualified to vote absentee under the "State of Emergency" reason.
  • Check back here soon for details on additional changes to absentee voting rules for the November 3, 2020 General Election.

Absentee In Person

Step 1: Visit your county voter registration office.

Step 2: Complete an application.

Step 3. Cast your ballot. 

In-person absentee voting opens no later than October 5.

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. 

Absentee By Mail

Step 1:  Get your application.

     Get the application online.    You must be able to print your application.

     OR

     Call or email your county voter registration office.  You will be mailed an application.  

Step 2:  Complete, sign and return the application to your county voter registration office as soon as possible by email, mail, fax, or personal delivery. 

  • Return your application at least two weeks before election day to provide time for receiving and returning your ballot by mail.
  • The deadline to return your application is 5:00 p.m. on the fourth day prior to the election.  WARNING:  Applying late puts your ballot at risk of not being returned by the deadline.

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

Step 4:  Vote and return the ballot to your county voter registration office either by mail or personal delivery.  Place the ballot in the "ballot here-in" envelope and place the "ballot here-in" envelope in the return envelope.  Be sure to sign the voter's oath and have your signature witnessed.  Anyone can witness your signature.  A notary is not necessary.  

  • Ballots must be received by the county voter registration office by 7:00 p.m. on election day.
  • Ballots returned by mail should be mailed no later than one week prior to election day to help ensure timely delivery.

Who Can Vote Absentee

  • Members of the Armed Forces (click here for additional information)
  • Members of the Merchant Marine (click here for additional information)
  • Spouses and dependents residing with members of the Armed Forces or Merchant Marine (click here for additional information)
  • 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)
  • Citizens residing overseas (click here for additional information)
  • Persons who are physically disabled (includes illnesses and injuries)
  • Students attending school outside their county of residence and their spouses and dependents residing with them
  • Persons who for reasons of employment will not be able to vote on election day
  • Government employees serving outside their county of residence on Election Day and their spouses and dependents residing with them
  • Persons who plan to be on vacation outside their county of residence on Election Day
  • Persons serving as a juror in state or federal court on Election Day
  • Persons admitted to the hospital as emergency patients on Election Day or within a four-day period before the election
  • Persons with a death or funeral in the family within three days before the election
  • Persons confined to a jail or pre-trial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial
  • Persons attending sick or physically disabled persons
  • Certified poll watchers, poll managers, and county election officials working on Election Day
  • Persons sixty-five years of age or older
  • Persons who for religious reasons do not want to vote on a Saturday (Presidential Primaries Only)
  • State of Emergency (November 3, 2020 Elections Only)

Who Can Request an Application

  • A voter or a member of a member of a voter's immediate family (spouse, parents, children, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandchildren, mothers-in-law, fathers-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, sons-in-law, and daughters-in-law).  
  • An authorized representative on behalf of a voter who has an illness or disability. An authorized representative must be a registered voter and complete the Authorized Representative Form.  Candidates and paid campaign workers may not serve as authorized representatives.

Who Can Return an Absentee Ballot

  • You can have another person return your ballot by completing an Authorization to Return Absentee Ballot Form.  Candidates and paid campaign workers may not return absentee ballots unless they are an immediate family member of the voter.
  • 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.

Additional Information