By Angelique Jarvis-Simmons, Staff Writer
Have you become of age to be able to vote this year? Have you moved to our area and have not registered to vote yet? Do you want to register to vote, but do not want to put yourself at risk for COVID-19? Are you worried about your vote not being counted?
With the general election approaching in November, the countdown is on to register to vote. You must be registered 30 days prior to the election date, and that deadline this year is Oct. 4. The 30-day cut off allows enough time to ensure that you are in the system and on the list at your polling location.
You can register online at scvotes.gov, or in person at the Spartanburg County Administration Building located at 366 N. Church St. in Spartanburg. You must be 18 years old by Nov. 3 ; be a U.S. citizen; a resident of the State of SC and live in the county and precinct you will be voting in; have a photo ID, such as SC Driver’s license; not be a convicted felon; nor mentally incompetent under a court order.
New South Carolina residents will need to update their addresses at the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. While you’re there, go ahead and tell them you want to be registered to vote and they’ll do it for you.
Absentee ballots are available if you are physically disabled or caring for a disabled person; will be hospitalized; serving in the Military, USO, American Red Cross, Merchant Marines; live overseas; are on vacation; away at college; are a government employee; your job prevents you from voting; you are working the polls on Election Day; have suffered a death within three days of Election Day; are on jury duty; are 65 or older. Absentee ballots must be returned no later than four days prior to Election Day, by 5 p.m. They may be mailed in or turned in, in person. If mailing in, you must place your signature on the outside of the return envelope (postage free). As of press time, the signature of a witness is also required.
If you want the absentee ballot mailed to you, you must request and send your signed application as soon as possible. Ballots for applications that are already signed are scheduled to be mailed the first of October. It is also available online and will need to be printed and either returned in person or by mail. The week of Sept. 28, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., you can go to Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium and have your absentee ballot processed there.
Spartanburg County Registration and Election office has been fully staffed during COVID-19. The staff has taken every safety precaution and followed SCDHEC protocols. You will not be required to wear a mask, should you register in person, but it is highly recommended. There are voter registration drives throughout the next few weeks, and you may register this way as well.
On Election Day, Nov. 3, you can expect to practice social distancing, and will see poll managers wearing protective masks/shields; hand sanitizer will be readily available, and the voting machines will be wiped every hour with alcohol swabs. Once you reach the voter check-in table, you will provide your voter registration card, or your SC Driver’s License, and then move on to the voting scanner.
Based on the June primary election Henry Laye, Director of Registration and Elections for Spartanburg County does not anticipate longer wait times than usual for the general election.
To ensure that your vote counts, and that there is no duplication of votes, each ballot is scanned, electronically recorded, and retained in a sealed ballot box. The cumulative count will need to match the number of voters on the sign-in sheet.
“Voters have the responsibility to register properly and keep their information current” said Laye. He adds that you do not want to wait until the last minute to register. If you have moved, make sure your address is correct on your voter registration card and it matches your driver’s license.
It is also important to know where you polling location is. If you are unsure of your polling location, you can check for it on scvotes.org.
Here are the polling stations in Woodruff, Enoree and Cross Anchor.
- Woodruff Leisure Center – 550 Cavins Rd.
- Bellview Baptist Church – 901 Bellview Rd.
- Reidville Fire Dept. – 7450 Reidville Rd.
- District 4 Activity Center – 200 Lucy P. Edwards Rd.
- Cross Anchor Fire Station – 11925 Hwy 56
- Enoree First Baptist Church – 1150 Parker Rd.