Election Day is Nov. 5, 2019. We encourage every eligible voter to vote – regardless of political affiliation or candidate choice. Because voting is the essence of an enduring democracy. This year, three Democrats are contending seats in the Greenville City Council. There are also non-partisan elections in several county municipalities. Find more about candidates here.  It’s important to make a plan to vote and stick to it. Voting is a habit we want you to develop! This primer can help.

Who Can Vote

You must be registered to vote. Registration for this election closed on October 17 after a 10-day extension due to Hurricane Florence.

What do you need to bring

SC Voter ID laws require that you bring one of five forms of identification to the polls. They are:

  • S.C. Driver’s License
  • S.C. DMV Identification Card
  • S.C. Voter Registration Card with Photo
  • Federal Military ID
  • U.S. Passport

If you do not have one of these forms of ID with you, you will still be permitted to cast a provisional ballot. However, that ballot will only count if your identification is verified at the County Board of Election offices prior to certification of the results. These deadlines may vary and you should contact the Board of Elections if you are unable to produce a valid form of photo ID.

When you can vote

Absentee Voting: South Carolina does not have early voting. But there are two forms of absentee voting available to those who qualify: by mail-in ballot or absentee voting in person. You can request an absentee ballot online  or by calling the election office at 864-467-7250. Ballots will be mailed out up until 5 p.m. on Friday, November 2, and must be received at the election office no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day, November 6.

Absentee voting in person is open from October 8 through November 5, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Voting is at County Square, 301 University Ridge, Greenville. Use the Human Services Agencies entrance, and go to Conference Room H. There are extended voting hours on these days: October 25 and 26 until 7 p.m. And Saturdays, October 27 and November 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

You must meet one of 17 eligibility criteria to vote absentee, but the criteria cover many different situations. Check to see if you meet any of the criteria here.

Voting at the polls: Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. If there is a line and you are in line to vote at 7 p.m., you must be allowed to vote. If you are disabled and need assistance, a poll worker will assist you with curbside voting.

Where do you vote

In the November 5 election, there are a number of changes to polling places. Check out these changes. You must vote in the polling place where you are registered. In this election, there are dozens of different ballots. You will be redirected to your polling place if you show up at the wrong one. This can be time consuming. If you are unsure of your normal voting precinct, you can check it at SCvotes.org.

Why do you vote

This is your chance to have your voice heard. Anyone who believes voting doesn’t matter need only look at the 2000 presidential election, ultimately decided by The Supreme Court; and the 2016 presidential election where approximately 100,000 votes across a handful of states decided the outcome. Voting matters. In addition to voting for statewide, local and federal offices, there is an SC constitutional amendment on the ballot. The amendment, if approved, would allow for the state superintendent of education to be appointed by the governor, rather than elected as is currently the case. The League of Women Voters has more information that looks at both sides of this issue.

How will you vote

Voting is too important to leave to chance. Make a plan to vote. Decide what time you will go, and how you will get there. Go with a friend, or give someone a ride. Those commitments help ensure that you will vote (it’s just like going to the gym!). If you need a ride to the polls, contact the GCDP office at 864-232-5531 to arrange for one.

Final thoughts

Voting is your right. If you are properly registered, are at the right polling place, and are in line by 7 p.m., you MUST be allowed to vote. If you are denied your opportunity to vote, contact the Election office at 864-467-7250, or the GCDP office at 864-232-5531. The state Democratic Party also has a voter suppression hotline at 833-868-3722. Do not leave your polling location while you call; stand your ground. If you have to leave, ask for a provisional ballot and then follow up with the Election Commission to ensure that ballot gets counted. Document anything you are told and ask for the names of those poll workers you interact with.