COLUMBIA, SC — Following a lawsuit brought by SCDP and DCCC to expand voting by mail, State lawmakers agreed South Carolina voters will be permitted to cast no-excuse absentee ballots as the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases increase daily. Earlier today the South Carolina Supreme Court heard arguments in the case.
“Lawmakers have a duty to protect the health and safety of South Carolina voters and poll workers during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Thankfully voters will not be forced to risk their lives and public safety exercising their fundamental right to vote.” says Shaundra Young Scott, Director of SCDP Voter Protection.
Prior to today, absentee ballots were only available to voters out of the country on election day, serving in the military, ill, disabled or over 65. Quarantining or isolation due to Coronavirus was not an approved reason to vote absentee, potentially putting thousands of primary voters and the typically elder volunteers who run each precinct in harms way. Once signed by the Governor, South Carolina voters still must request an absentee ballot and then cast it via mail.
“I cannot give enough credit to our Democratic legislators who joined with Republicans in a strong demonstration of bipartisanship, to put democracy over politics in ensuring all South Carolinains are able to participate in the June 9th primary. My only hope is the General Assembly will seriously consider extending these reforms into the General as well,” says Trav Robertson, Jr. SCDP Chair.
Expanded absentee voting access will only cover voters participating in the June 9th primary and any subsequent runoffs. Lawmakers will be forced to come together again and determine if COVID-19 continues to pose a threat to Election Day in November.