More than 1,000 Charleston County residents lined up at North Charleston Coliseum Monday for the first day of in-person absentee voting.
In all, 1,294 in-person absentee voters were processed on Monday, according to Joe Debney, the executive director of Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration. That eclipses the 1,063-voter total for the entire first week of in-person absentee voting in 2016, Debney said.
Voters were queued up when polls opened at 8:30 a.m., and lines reached outside the coliseum ticket area throughout the day. This morning, with clouds and rain in the forecast, turnout was lighter. Voters were also seen lining up throughout the state to vote on Monday, per City Paper contributor Stephanie Hunt, on assignment for The Washington Post.
Charleston County will be operating four satellite voting locations between now and election day on Nov. 3. Through Oct. 18, in-person absentee voting and ballot drop off is available at the coliseum. On Oct. 19, three other satellite locations open:
- Main library downtown (68 Calhoun St.)
- Seacoast Church Mount Pleasant (750 Long Point Road)
- Seacoast Church West Ashley (2049 Savannah Hwy.)
Voting hours are 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Satellite locations will also be open two Saturdays, 10/24 and 10/31, 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Drive-thru drop boxes and drive-thru curbside voting are available at all locations for those who have completed absentee ballots or those who want to vote without leaving their car.
Clerks are on hand for any voters who have requested absentee ballots but have not returned them and would like to vote in-person absentee or anyone who has issues with their registration.
South Carolina does not offer true early voting, but state law allows election officials to process voters wishing to cast absentee ballots in person, where the procedure is very similar to election day. Last month, state lawmakers relaxed some absentee rules, allowing voters to cast absentee ballots because of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
A federal judge initially ruled S.C. voters did not have to obtain a witness’ signature on their mail-in ballots. But Republican officials, as they have in other states, challenged that order, appealing it to the Supreme Court of the United States. On Monday night, the Court sided with state Republicans to require the signature as laid out in state law.