On Monday night the U.S. Supreme Court effectively ruled that mail-in ballots must contain a witness’s signature. The issue was before the Court after South Carolina Republicans appealed a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that waived the witness signature requirement due to the coronavirus pandemic. The court stayed the Fourth Circuit’s opinion, thus reinstating the signature requirement.
The court made one exception to the witness signature requirement. Tens of thousands of ballots had already been sent to South Carolina voters and those ballots already sent in without a witness signature, the Court noted, should be counted.
According to the South Carolina State Election Commission, ballots already received by county officials and those received through Oct. 7 will be counted regardless of whether the return envelope bears a witness signature.
To ensure your absentee by mail ballot counts, the Commission notes that voters must: sign the voter’s oath on the ballot return envelope, have a witness sign and provide address (any other person can be a witness), and return your ballot before 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.
Ballots can be returned in person or by mail. You should mail your ballot as soon as possible and at least a week before Election Day to allow time for delivery before the deadline.
On Monday, Oct. 5, registered voters began casting absentee ballots in-person on voting machines at the Berkeley County Voter Registration and Elections Office, at 6 Belt Drive, Moncks Corner. The in-person voting station is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays through Nov. 2, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31.
Additionally, in-person voting will be available from Oct. 19-30 at two satellite locations – the Hanahan Library, 1216 Old Murray Drive, and the St. Stephen Library, 113 Ravenell Drive. Hours for the satellite locations are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 22 and Oct. 30.
Absentee ballots may be returned in-person by either the voter or authorized returner (with completed form) to the Voters Registration office or satellite absentee locations during regular business hours. Ballots may also be returned to the drop box at the Voters
All registered voters in South Carolina are eligible to vote absentee under the “State of Emergency” reason.