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Early voting replaces in-person absentee voting 

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New SC law changes rules just before June 14 primary 

From staff reports 

In-person absentee voting for the June 14 primaries was to have started Monday in Beaufort County, but because of a new law, the option no longer exists in South Carolina. 

Governor Henry McMaster on Friday, May 13, signed into law legislation passed by the General Assembly that establishes early voting in South Carolina. 

In-person absentee voting has now been replaced with a two-week early voting period. The period, for the June 14 primaries, runs from May 31 to June 10. Any voter can visit an early-voting location in Beaufort and vote like they would at their polling place on Election Day. 

To help prepare for the upcoming elections, the Board of Voter Registration and Elections of Beaufort County issued a release informing voters of all their options to vote. 

Polling Place on Election Day 

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Check your polling place at scVOTES.gov before leaving to vote. 

Bring your Photo ID (or voter registration card if you do not have a Photo ID). 

Early Voting 

Any voter can visit an early-voting location in Beaufort and vote like they would at their polling place on Election Day. 

Early-voting for June Primaries (June 14) is May 31 to June 10. Polls are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Polls are closed Saturday and Sunday, June 5-6. 

Early-voting for June Runoffs (June 28) is Wednesday, June 22 to Friday, June 24 at the same hours and locations as the primaries. 

Bring your Photo ID (or voter registration card if you do not have a Photo ID).

There are currently three (3) Early Voting Centers: Beaufort (Main office), 15 John Galt Road, Beaufort, S.C. 29906; Bluffton (Satellite office), 61B Ulmer Road, Bluffton, S.C. 29910; and Hilton Head (Satellite office), 539 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island, S.C. 29926.

Absentee (by-mail only)

Absentee voting allows qualified voters to cast a ballot by mail prior to Election Day. In-Person Absentee Voting is no longer authorized by law.

Qualified voters include:

Voters with disabilities.

Voters 65 years of age or older.

Members of the Armed Forces and Merchant Marines of the United States, their spouses, and dependents residing with them.

Voters admitted to hospitals as emergency patients on the day of an election or within a four-day period before the election.

Voters who, for one of the following reasons, are unable to vote in person on any day of the early-voting period or on Election Day: Employment obligations; Attending sick or physically disabled persons; Confined to a jail or pretrial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial; or Absent from their county for any reason.

To vote absentee:

Request an absentee application by phone, mail, or in person.

Complete, sign and return the application by mail or in person. New applications will be issued soon based on the new requirements. The old application will continue to be accepted through May 31. After May 31, only new applications meeting current requirements will be accepted. The deadline to return a new application is June 3.

You will receive your absentee ballot in the mail.

Vote and return your ballot to the Board of Voter Registration and Elections of Beaufort County office by mail or in person no later than 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. Be sure to sign the voter’s oath and have the return envelope witnessed. There are no changes to the witness requirement in effect for the June Primaries. Witness requirement changes in the law go into effect in July. Photo ID will be required to return your ballot in person. Ballots returned by mail should be mailed no later than one week prior to election day to help ensure timely delivery.

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Vernon Kemp, IT Elections Systems Manager for Beaufort County Board of Voter Registration and Elections, runs