Photo by Janine Robinson on Unsplash

We are soon to be voting in the 2022 General Election. What can we expect? First, we can expect that this election will be like those before, with hundreds of professional and volunteer workers doing their best to make sure that voting is secure and accessible for South Carolina’s citizens. Once more, citizens will vote, by mail or in person, exercising the most basic of our rights and responsibilities. However, in some other ways, this will not be like earlier elections. 

Passage of a new election law late in the 2022 session of the General Assembly made significant changes in how South Carolina holds elections. The State Election Commission (SEC) has provided a helpful list of these changes at scvotes.gov. For most voters the biggest difference will be a very positive one, the availability of no-excuse early voting. This was first put into place during the primaries but will be available in a general election for the first time October 24–November 5 during the hours 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday, October 30. With more time to prepare for early voting than in the June primary, counties have made major improvements, especially in numbers of polling places. In contrast to single polling locations in June, Charleston plans to provide seven early voting locations and Lexington will provide five.

Other changes have been made in the process for excused absentee voting, which is now exclusively by mail. An absentee application can be requested by phone, mail, or in person at a county elections office (not by email or fax). The deadline to obtain an application is 11 days before Election Day, November 8. Absentee ballots will be sent by mail. Completed ballots must be returned to county elections offices by mail or in person no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day or in person at an early voting center during early voting hours.

For the first time, witnesses for the absentee ballot must print their name in addition to signing and must provide their address on the return envelope. Since South Carolina does not permit county offices to notify voters of technical defects and correct them, failure to conform to the requirements will lead to rejection of a ballot. Those voting by mail should take special care that their application and their ballot are complete and submitted as early as possible.

In addition, an authorized representative can submit no more than five absentee applications or return no more than five absentee ballots in addition to their own. This and some other election violations have been made felonies. This restriction will make voting more difficult for many in group living situations. 

These changes are occurring against the backdrop of a very disturbing national effort to unreasonably discredit the institutions, people, and processes at the foundation of our representative democracy. Misinformation charging both technical and fraudulent problems in our elections, some of it intentionally disruptive, is everywhere. This toxic atmosphere has shaken the confidence of many voters and has contributed to the loss of many of our critically important experienced election professionals and volunteers. However, diligent efforts are being made to overcome those losses and ensure an orderly and efficient election process for everyone in our state. 

One thing never changes. Every vote matters. For more information about candidates and the election, we encourage all eligible citizens to visit the League’s website at vote411.org. Check your registration, make a plan, and vote!

Nancy Williams of Hilton Head Island is president of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina. Have a comment?  Send to: feedback@charlestoncitypaper.com.


Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.


Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.