Absentee voting deadline nearing in Sumter

Officials clear up concerns about online applications

BY KAYLA ROBINS
kayla@theitem.com
Posted 10/30/18

After reports of some voters in Sumter not being able to vote by absentee ballot for the upcoming Nov. 6 general election, officials said the obstacles are fixable but that time is running out.

The Sumter Item received several questions about …

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Absentee voting deadline nearing in Sumter

Officials clear up concerns about online applications

Posted

After reports of some voters in Sumter not being able to vote by absentee ballot for the upcoming Nov. 6 general election, officials said the obstacles are fixable but that time is running out.

The Sumter Item received several questions about going through the full process online to get an absentee ballot and download the necessary paperwork.

Edward Cornell said he could not complete the application to download it, which then would allow him to get an absentee ballot by mail. He reached out to the Sumter County Voter Registration Office, where Director Patricia Jefferson scanned a copy of the application and sent him that.

Cornell's concern was that other people may have come across computer problems and not known to reach out.

He voiced frustration the issue still exists, claiming his wife came across the same problems last election cycle.

"If I know it's out there, then we'll scan it and make sure they get it," Jefferson said. "We'll do everything we can."

In response to questions about whether the computer problem could be fixed, the South Carolina Election Commission said many of the issues may involve not having Adobe PDF Reader or the most recent update, etc.

"There is no online voting in South Carolina. Only military and overseas citizens can get their ballots online to print it out," said Chris Whitmire, director of public information and training.

He said he has not heard of any large-scale issues with the system.

"We go through great lengths to try to make sure people understand [the online part] is just people getting their application," he said.

The online component to absentee voting involves getting an application to vote that way. Voters can either visit the county voter registration office in their county of residence to get an application or download the application online, complete it and cast their ballot - all separate steps.

Voters can submit absentee ballot applications in person up until 5 p.m. on Friday.

Voters can also get an absentee ballot by mail, which Whitmire said, if going that route, to do so today or Wednesday at the latest. An application can be downloaded online using Adobe reader at www.scvotes.org or requested in person, by mail, email or fax to be mailed an application.

After printing the application or receiving it in the mail, complete the application and return it to your county voter registration office. Those applications must be returned no later than 5 p.m. Friday by mail, email, fax or in person.

After the application is returned, you will receive the ballot in the mail. Vote the ballot and return it to the county voter registration office by 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6, personally or by mail.

At this point, Whitmire said, it is recommended to complete any or all of those steps in person because of time constraints.

The Sumter County Voter Registration Office will be open on Saturday for absentee voting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.