Area residents petition state to extend Vote By Mail

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From staff reports

Local civic groups have collected more than 2,800 signatures on a petition appealing to the South Carolina legislature and governor to save lives by allowing all registered voters to vote by mail in the November presidential election.

In May, in response to the Covid-19 threat the legislature passed legislation enabling “no excuses” voting by mail for the June 9 primary only The citizens’ petition calls for the legislature to immediately reconvene and extend that voter option to the Nov. 3 election.

The petition states that if the legislature fails to act, Governor Henry McMaster should do so by executive order.

“The legislature and governor acted to save lives during the primary when the pandemic was only beginning,” Beaufort resident Jeff Baker said in a release. “Now our state is a Covid hot spot, the election coincides with flu season and we face a much higher voter turnout for a presidential election. How can they refuse to extend voting by mail to save lives?”

“This is not a partisan issue, but rather a safety issue,” Bluffton resident JoAnne Gatti-Petito said. “South Carolinians are especially vulnerable to Covid because we have a large population of senior citizens and a high percentage of people without adequate access to healthcare. If legislators and the governor fail to act, many people will die from being exposed to Covid on voting lines. And it will be on their consciences.”

The petition was organized by citizen groups, including Indivisible Beaufort, Lowcountry Indivisible, Sun City Indivisible and the Sheldon Township Community Support Partnership.

State Senator Tom Davis (R-Dist.46) receives a petition advocating “no excuses” absentee ballots in 2020 from Sun City residents Pamela Reading-Smith (left) and Judy Glazer (right).