The Dorchester County Registration & Elections Commission is responsible for facilitating absentee voting for all Federal, State, County, and Referendum elections within Dorchester County, South Carolina. Absentee voting is not the “early voting” that you may have heard about on the news. To vote absentee, you must be a registered voter and meet one of the following criteria:
- A Member of the Uniformed Services on Active Duty (UOCAVA)
- A Merchant Marine (UOCAVA)
- A Spouse or Dependent of a member of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marine (UOCAVA)
- A U. S. Citizen Permanently Residing Outside the United States (UOCAVA)
- A U. S. Citizen Temporarily Residing outside the United States (UOCAVA)
- Persons Disabled
- Student, their spouse, or dependents residing with them who are out of their county of residence on Election Day
- For reasons of employment will not be able to vote on Election Day
- Government employees, their spouses and dependents residing with them, who are out of their county of residence on Election Day
- Persons on vacation who will be outside their county of residence on Election Day
- Persons who will be serving as jurors in a state or federal court on Election Day
- Persons admitted to the hospital as emergency patients on day of election or at least four days prior to the election. The voter can have an immediate family member apply and carry a ballot to the voter.
- Electors with a death or funeral in the family within 3 days before the election
- Persons confined to a jail or pre-trial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial
- Persons attending sick or physically disabled persons
- Certified poll watchers and poll managers, county registration board members and staff, and county election commission members and staff working on Election Day
- Persons sixty-five years of age or older (Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act)
Voting Absentee In-person
Dates: October 3 – November 3
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Location: Voter Registration Office, Kenneth Waggoner Building, 201 Johnston Street, St. George
Dates: October 20 – October 31
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Location: County Council Chamber, 500 North Main Street, Summerville
Voting Absentee By Mail
Persons unable to vote in-person may choose to vote absentee by mail instead. Because the ballot must be mailed to the voter, this process takes a minimum of four days for the ballot to be mailed to the voter, voted, and mailed back to our office. Below is the process for voting absentee by mail:
Step One: Request
The voter must submit a request to our office to let us know that he or she is interested in voting absentee in a specific election. The request can be made anytime during the calendar year in which the election will be held. The request should include:
- Voter’s Name
- Voter’s Registration Number
- Voter’s Residence and Mailing Addresses
- Voter’s Phone Number
- Name and Date of the Election in which he/she wishes to vote absentee
- Voter’s E-mail Address (Optional)
- Reason (Qualification) For Requesting to Vote Absentee
The request can be made by any of the following methods:
- In-person: Voter makes request in-person at our office.
- By Mail: A letter or note with the above information mailed to Dorchester County Registration & Elections 201 Johnston Street, St. George, SC 29477. The voter must sign this request.
- By Fax: A letter or note with the above information faxed to Dorchester County Registration & Elections at 843-832-0132 or 843-563-0132. The voter must sign this request.
- By E-mail: An email with the above information sent to email@example.com.
A member of the voter’s immediate family or the voter’s authorized representative may request the absentee ballot application for the voter. An authorized representative is a registered voter who, with a voter’s permission, can request an absentee ballot application on behalf of a voter who qualifies because of illness or disability. Candidates and paid campaign workers may not serve as authorized representatives. If you are interested in serving as a voter’s authorized representative, please contact our office for more information.
Step Two: Office Issues Application For An Absentee Ballot
We will send the voter an Application for an Absentee Ballot after we have received and processed their request. The application can be sent to the voter by either mail, email, or fax.
Step Three: Voter Returns Application For An Absentee Ballot
The voter must completely fill out the application and return it to our office. The deadline for receiving the completed application is 5:00 p.m. on the 4th day prior to the election (the 4th day is Friday for all Tuesday elections). You may return the application in person or by mail, email, or fax.
Step Four: Office Mails Absentee Ballot
Upon receipt of the completed Application for an Absentee Ballot from the voter, the application will be verified and processed. A ballot will then be sent to the voter via the United States Postal Service First Class Mail to the address the voter listed on his/her application as soon as ballots become available for the election. Ballots cannot be picked-up from our office, all ballots must be mailed.
Step Five: Voter Returns Absentee Ballot to Our Office
The voter must vote the ballot following ballot instructions and return it to our office by the time the polls close on on the day of the election (7:00pm for all elections except Veterans Affairs which is 6:00pm). You may return the ballot in person or by mail. The voter cannot return the ballot to any other location (i.e. at their voting precinct).
- Your completed absentee ballot must be placed in the “Ballots Herein” envelope provided with your absentee ballot. The “Ballots Herein” envelope will then be placed inside a “Return Envelope” which you must sign and have witnessed before returning.
- To have your absentee ballot returned by a person other than yourself, it is necessary for the absentee voter to compete an “Authorization to Return Absentee Ballot Form”. The absentee voter completes Part I, and the person returning the ballot completes Part II of the form. Candidates and paid campaign workers may not return absentee ballots unless they are an immediate family member of the voter.
November 4, 2014 General Election – Absentee Voting Deadlines
Deadline to return State Absentee Form (Absentee By Mail): 5:00 p.m. Friday, October 31, 2014
Deadline to Return Absentee Ballot (Absentee By Mail): 7:00PM Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Deadline for Voting Absentee In-Person: 5:00 p.m. Monday, November 3, 2014 (St. George will be the only in-person voting location on this date)
If you have questions, please call 832-0132 or 563-0132.