Voting Qualifications

Qualifications - Register

To be eligible to register to vote in South Carolina, a person must meet the following qualifications:
  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be at least 18 years of age on or before the next election
  • Be a resident in the county and polling precinct in which the elector offers to vote
  • Not be under a current court order declaring the elector mentally incompetent
  • Not be confined in any public prison resulting from a conviction of a crime
  • Not have been convicted of a felony or any offense against the election laws, unless the elector has served his entire sentence, including probation and parole time, or has received a pardon.
There is no length of residency requirement in South Carolina in order to register to vote. You can register at any time.

You must be registered at least 30 days prior to any election in order to vote in that election. Registration by mail applications must be postmarked at least 30 days prior to that particular election to be eligible.

To check your Voter Registration Information, use our Information link

Qualifications - Absentee Ballot

A voter must meet any one of the following 15 qualifications to vote an absentee ballot:

  • Students, their spouses and dependents residing with them.(The term "students" defines all persons residing outside their county of residence who are enrolled in an institution of learning.)
  • Members of the Armed Forces and Merchant Marines, their spouses and dependents residing with them.
  • Persons serving with the American Red Cross or with the United Service Organizations (USO) who are attached to and serving with the U.S. Armed Forces, their spouses and dependents residing with them.
  • Voters who, because of their employment obligations, will be absent from their county of residence on election day during the hours the polls are open and will be unable to vote in person, or those persons who are required by their employment obligations to be at their place of employment in their county of residence during the entire hours that the polls are open (7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.) and will be unable to vote in person.
  • Voters who, because of injury or illness, cannot vote in person in their polling place on election day.
  • Government employees, their spouses and dependents residing with them, who are out of their county of residence on election day.
  • Voters with a death or funeral in the family within a three day period prior to the election.
  • Voters on vacation, who because of vacation plans will be absent from a county of residence on election day.
  • Poll managers, certified poll watchers, county voter registration board members and staff, and county election commission members and staff working on election day.
  • Overseas citizens.
  • Voters who are attending sick or physically disabled persons.
  • Voters admitted to hospitals as emergency patients on the day of election or within a four day period before the election.
  • Voters who will be serving as jurors in a state or federal court on election day.
  • Voters 65 years of age or older.
  • Voters confined to a jail or pre-trial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial.

To request an Absentee Ballot Application Form, use our Absentee link
To check the status of an Absentee Ballot, use our Status link

Absentee Voting

Voters wishing to vote absentee can request an absentee ballot from the County Board of Voter Registration and Elections anytime during the calendar year in which the election is to be held. If the ballot is to be mailed to the voter, the board must receive a completed state application no later than 5:00 p.m. four days before the election.

Voters applying in person may apply and vote until 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election.

Voters admitted to a hospital as an emergency patient on the day of election or within a four day period before the election may have a member of their immediate family obtain and complete an absentee ballot application, receive the ballot and deliver it personally to the patient to vote. That family member must personally deliver the voted ballot back to the Board before 7:00 p.m. on election-day.

The voter or member of the voter’s immediate family must request an absentee ballot application from the Board. The request can be made in person, by mail, or by phone.

An immediate family member includes a spouse, parent, child, brother, sister, grandparents, grandchildren, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, son-in-law, and daughter-in-law.

A voter’s authorized representative is also permitted to make the request. Authorized representatives are registered voters who, with a voter’s permission, act for a voter unable to go to the polls because of illness or disability resulting in his confinement in a hospital, sanitarium, nursing home, or place of residence; or a voter unable because of a physical disability to go to his polling place, or because of such disability unable to vote at his polling place due to existing architectural barriers which deny him physical access to the polling place, voting booth or voting apparatus.

A voter’s authorized representative must request the voter’s absentee ballot application in person or by mail only, and must be a registered voter and sign an oath to the effect that the authorized representative fits the statutory definition.

Candidates or members of a candidate’s paid or volunteer campaign staff may not serve as authorized representatives for a voter. In addition, a candidate or a member of a candidate’s paid campaign staff, including volunteers reimbursed for time expended on campaign activity, may not request an absentee ballot application for any person unless the person is a member of their immediate family.

Military and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting

Military and Overseas Citizens