Election Day is Tuesday, November 3rd. With the Covid-19 pandemic, voting this year will look a bit different. We expect masks, social distancing, and plenty of hand sanitizers to surround the polling booths. And while the voting will look different, the process of voting is still the same. Whether you’re heading to the polls or participating in absentee voting, we want you to know what steps to take to make sure your vote is counted and where you need to vote.
How To Vote
First things first, you must register to vote, this is typically done when you change your address with the Department of Motor Vehicles, but if you are unsure you can check your voter registration here. If your address is incorrect or if you have not yet registered click here. The deadline to register in person is Friday, October 2nd, and the deadline to register online is Sunday, October 4th.
Once you’re registered you’ll need to know your polling place. This can be found by entering your information here or will be shown on your voter registration card sent in the mail. Before Election Day, you may see your options and get an idea for what the poll will look like with a sample ballot available here. This way you’ll know exactly what questions you’ll be asked on the ballot as best to prepare with your answers.
On the day of the election, the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and anyone in line by 7 p.m. will have the opportunity to vote. Once you arrive at the polls you’ll need to remember to bring a form of ID with you, you’ll be asked to present this at the time of arrival. Acceptable form of ID include:
- SC Driver’s License
- SC Department of Motor Vehicles ID Card
- SC Voter Registration Card with Photo
- Federal Military ID
- US Passport
Many people also wonder how they can vote by mail or file for an absentee vote. To qualify for this type of voting you must meet certain qualifications such as, being a member of the armed forces, having an illness or injury, a citizen residing overseas, over the age of 65, unable to vote on election day due to reasons of employment, and many others you can see the full list of qualifications here.
Can’t Vote in November? Here’s details on the absentee ballot requirements
1. Persons qualified to vote by absentee ballot: students, their spouses, and dependents residing with them; persons serving with the American Red Cross or with the United Service
2. Organizations (USO) who are attached to and serving with the Armed Forces of the United States, their spouses, and dependents residing with them;
3. Governmental employees, their spouses, and dependents residing with them;
4. persons on vacation (who by virtue of vacation plans will be absent from their county of residence on election day);
5. employment obligations require them to be out of their county of residence on election day; or, overseas citizens.
If you qualify to vote absentee you may choose to do so in-person or by mail. The in-person process is fairly simple, you’ll want to visit your County Voter Registration Office, complete the application, and then cast your ballot. County offices will be open for in-person absentee ballots beginning on Monday, September, 28th for the 2020 General Election and will accept ballots until 5 p.m. on the day before the election.
To absentee vote by mail, you want to either request an online application where you may print the application, or you can call or email your county voter registration office to request an application in the mail. You’ll want to complete and return this form as soon as possible to have the ballot sent out in time. You’ll need to return this application at least 2 weeks before Election Day to have an adequate amount of time to have the ballot mailed to you. Next, you’ll receive your absentee ballot in the mail. Once you’re ready to return your ballot you’ll return it to your county voter registration office either by mail or personal delivery. Per the South Carolina Election Commission, “place the ballot in the “ballot here-in” envelope and place the “ballot here-in” envelope in the return envelope. Be sure to sign the voter’s oath and have your signature witnessed. Anyone can witness your signature. A notary is not necessary. Ballots must be received by the county voter registration office by 7:00 p.m. on election day. Ballots returned by mail should be mailed no later than one week prior to election day to help ensure timely delivery.”
Once you’ve returned your ballot or hit the polls in person, you can check the status of your ballot here, under Check Your Vote.
Work the Polls
To ensure things run smoothly on the day of the election, poll workers are needed. Many of our long-serving poll managers in South Carolina, particularly ones at high risk have decided that this year they won’t be able to manage the polls. This leaves us with a shortage of workers if we don’t have not enough new ones sign up. Therefore, the SEC is asking people to please sign up for these positions in your local area.
To become a Poll Manager you’ll have to meet one of the following criteria:
- Poll Managers (except Poll Manager Assistants) must be registered to vote in South Carolina.
- Any 16 or 17-year-old can apply to be a Poll Manager Assistant.
- Clerks must be a registered voter in the county in which they are serving or an adjoining county.
- Poll Managers may not be a candidate or the spouse, parent, child, brother, or sister of a candidate at any polling place where the candidate’s name appears on the ballot.
To prepare as a Poll Manager or Poll Managers Assistant, you will have to take some training courses which can be held online or in small in-person groups. For this day, as a poll manager you’ll be compensated with the following: $60 for attending training + $15 for COVID-19 training + $75 for working on election day + $15 for additional COVID-19 related duties on election day = $165 Total. Plus the feeling of doing a good deed!
To learn more about becoming a Poll Manager this election click here.
Be a Poll Worker
Responsibilities and Requirements of a Poll Worker
• Must be registered to vote in Greenville County or any county in South Carolina.
• South Carolina Statutes require that all poll workers attend mandatory training sessions for each election cycle. (approx.3 hours)•Assist in the setup of the polling place prior to each election.
• Help conduct the election at the assigned precinct from 6 AM and remain until all closing procedures are completed.
• Will have duties which include voter registration qualification,activating voting machines,giving voting instructions, and maintaining orderly flow at the polling place.
• Must have transportation to and from assigned polling place within a reasonable distance of home.
Physical requirements include standing, bending, stooping, assisting 1-2 others in lifting voting machines weighing approximately 25 lbs., normal vision and manual/physical dexterity.
According to voting rights advocates, the country needs at least 250,000 new poll workers to handle the expected demand for in-person votingBloomberg News at www.bloomberg.com
Free elections are one of the hallmarks of American democracy. Make sure your voice is counted and vote this November. If you can, consider working at the polls. For any additional questions on how to vote, visit the South Carolina Election Commission.
Where to Vote in Greenville County