Arthur Ravenel Bridge

Absentee Voting at Residential Care Facilities

If a voter is unable to go to the polls on Election Day, they may vote prior to Election Day by requesting an absentee ballot from the county voter registration office.  The request can be made by phone, in person or by mail.  Absentee voting consists of requesting and completing an absentee ballot application, and then receiving and completing a ballot. 

A voter must request to participate in the absentee voting process through the voter registration office in the county where registered.  Click here for county voter registration office contact information.

State law is very specific about absentee voting.  All laws must be followed.

Common reasons for absentee voting at residential care facilities:

  • age 65 or older
  • physically disabled

Persons who can request an absentee application:

  • the voter
  • a member of the voter's immediate family.  Immediate family is defined as a spouse, parents, children, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandchildren, in-laws, mother, father, brother, sister, daughter and son.
  • an authorized representative who is acting at the request of a voter unable to go to the polls due to an illness or disability. The authorized representative may be the voting coordinator, and must be a registered voter. The representative cannot be a candidate or a paid member of a candidate's campaign.

Time period for requesting an absentee application:

Applications may be requested between January 1st and four days prior to the date of the election.  If the election date is in January, February, or March, applications may be requested in the previous year.

Methods to request an application:

Deadlines for the Application and Ballot:

  • Applications must be returned to the voter registration office no later than 5 p.m. four days before the election. 
  • Ballots must be received at the voter registration office no later than 7 p.m. on election night.

 Suggestions for Successful Absentee Voting

  1. Have one point of contact at the facility.  This person would serve as the voting coordinator between the voter, facility, family member, and the voter registration office.
  2. Contact the voter registration office to inform them of the absentee effort at the facility.  Involve family members of the voters at the beginning.  A family member may want to serve as an assistant to the voter.
  3. Coordinate early.  The application can be requested and completed any time after January 1st in the election year.
  4. If the facility is using a voting coordinator as an authorized representative, verify that the voting coordinator meets the qualifications as stated in the Request For Absentee Ballot Application By an Authorized Representative form.

Assistance in Completing the Application and Ballot

A voter who is blind, physically disabled, or unable to read or write may receive assistance.  A family member or the voting coordinator may assist.

Voters Suffering from an Illness

Voters with illnesses such as dementia, Alzheimer's disease or cognitive disabilities, are eligible to vote unless a court has declared them mentally incompetent. 

Unlawful Voting

It is against the law to

  • attempt to vote for a voter
  • impersonate a voter
  • attempt to bribe a voter
  • provide assistance when not requested
  • falsely take an authorized representative's oath

If these actions are witnessed, law enforcement should be notified.


Steps for Successful Absentee Voting at Residential Care Facilities

Voting Coordinator Steps


Contact the county voter registration office, and discuss the absentee voting process.  Find out about upcoming elections in the county.


Determine who is eligible to vote in the upcoming election.


Notify the voters' family members that this service is available.


If serving as an authorized representative, complete the Request For Absentee Ballot Application By an Authorized Representative, and return it to the voter registration office.

If you are not serving as an authorized representative, assist the voters through the absentee process.


Verify voters have received, completed, and returned the applications for an absentee ballot.


Verify voters have received and completed the ballots.


Verify each ballot's return envelope has been signed and witnessed.


If necessary, assist in the return of the ballot.