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2014 General Election Day FAQs

Q.   What do I need to take with me to the polls to vote?

A.  At your polling place, you will be asked to show one of the following Photo IDs:

  • SC Driver's license
  • ID card issued by the SC Department of Motor Vehicles
  • SC Voter Registration Card with Photo
  • Federal Military ID
  • US Passport

Q.  What if I don't have one of these Photo IDs?

A.  If you do not have one of these photo IDs, you can make your voting experience as fast and easy as possible by getting one before Election Day.  If you are already registered to vote, you can go to your county voter registration and elections office, provide your date of birth and the last four digits of your Social Security Number, and have your photo taken.  You can do this even on Election Day.  Free DMV ID Cards are also available from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

If you cannot get a photo ID, bring your non-photo voter registration card with you to the polling place.  You may vote a provisional ballot after signing an affidavit stating you have a reasonable impediment to obtaining a photo ID.  A reasonable impediment is any valid reason, beyond your control, which created an obstacle obtaining a photo ID.  Some examples include:  a disability or illness, a conflict with your work schedule, a lack of transportation, a lack of a birth certificate, family responsibilities, a religious objection to being photographed, and any other obstacle you find reasonable.  This ballot will count unless someone proves to the county board of voter registration and elections that you are lying about your identity or having the listed impediment. 

To vote under the reasonable impediment exception:

1.       Inform the poll managers that you do not have a photo ID and could not get one.

2.       Present your current, non-photo registration card.

3.       Sign the affidavit provided by the poll managers stating why you could not obtain a photo ID.

4.       Cast a provisional ballot that will be counted unless the county board of voter registration and elections has reason to believe your affidavit is false.

Q.  What happens if I forget to bring my Photo ID to my polling place?

A.  If you forget to bring your photo ID to your polling place, you may vote a provisional ballot that will only count if you show your photo ID to your county board of voter registration and elections office prior to certification.

Q.   I've lost my photo voter registration card.  Can I still vote?

A.    Yes.  Voters may also vote with their driver's license, DMV issued ID card, federal military ID, or U.S. passport.  Voters may also get a replacement photo voter registration card from their county voter registration and elections office, even on Election Day.

Q.  What hours will the polls be open?

A.  Polling places are open 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Anyone in line at 7:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Q.   Where do I vote?

A.    At the polling place in your precinct.  Your precinct and polling place are listed on your voter registration card.  To ensure your polling place hasn't changed since your card was issued, check your voter registration by visiting and clicking "Check My Voter Registration."  This feature will allow you to pull up a map from your house to your polling place.

Q.  What candidates and/or offices are on the ballot today?

A.    The offices, candidates, and questions on your ballot will differ depending on the county and districts in which you reside.  To find out what candidates and questions will be on your ballot, visit and click "Get My Sample Ballot" or call your county board of voter registration and elections office. 

Q.  How does straight party voting work?

A.  Whether to vote "Straight Party" is the first choice a voter must make on a General Election ballot.  Voting straight party is optional.  Each political party that has nominated a candidate appearing on the voter's ballot is represented in the straight party selection area.  If a party is selected under straight party, every candidate of that party is automatically selected.  The voter then has the option of changing their vote for any particular office (also known as "crossover voting") simply by touching the candidate of choice for that office.  Voters should also be aware that when voting straight party no selection is made for nonpartisan offices and questions.  These contests must be voted individually.  As always, voters should carefully review their choices on the review screen before casting their ballot.

Q.   I've moved since the last election and haven't updated my voter registration card.  Can I still vote?

A.    If the voter moved to...

1.  ...another residence within his precinct, he can vote at his polling place but must first fill out a change of address form.

2.  ...a different precinct within his county, he is eligible vote a failsafe ballot.

3.  ...another residence in another county within 30 days of the election, he is eligible to vote a failsafe ballot.

4.  ...another residence in another county prior to 30 days before the election, he is not eligible to vote.

        Two Options for Voting Failsafe:

1.  The voter may vote at the polling place in his previous precinct using a failsafe ballot.

2.  The voter may go to the voter registration office in the county in which he currently resides, change his address, and vote there.

Q.  When and where will results be reported?

A.    Unofficial results will be reported by the SEC on election night at  Results are reported in real time as we receive them from each county board of voter registration and elections.  Results may also be reported locally by county board.

Q.   Can candidates or their representatives take people to the polls to vote?

A.    Yes.

Q.   I saw a candidate/member of candidate's campaign at my polling place talking to voters.  Can he do that?

A.    Yes, but there are restrictions:

-Inside the polling place:  No campaigning is allowed.  Candidates may be inside the polling place and talk to voters as long as they are not campaigning, intimidating voters, or interfering with the election process.

-Within 200 feet of an entrance to a polling place:  Candidates and campaign staff may campaign as long as they are not intimidating voters or interfering with the election process.  However, no campaign literature, signs, or posters are allowed.  Candidates are allowed to wear a badge no larger than 4.25" x 4.25" featuring only the candidate's name and office sought.  Candidates must remove their badge upon entering a polling place. 

-Outside 200 feet of an entrance to a polling place:  does not fall under the jurisdiction of the poll clerk.

Q.   A candidate is definitely campaigning while in the polling place, or there is campaign literature within 200 feet of the entrance.  What can I do?

A.    Inform the poll clerk immediately.  If the issue is not resolved, contact the county board of voter registration and elections and inform them of the situation.  The county board will address the complaint.

Q.   When is a recount necessary?

A.    When the difference between any candidate declared nominated and any other candidate not declared nominated is 1% or less of the total votes cast for all candidates for that office, a recount is mandatory.

Q.   Do employers have to give you time off to vote?

A.    No.  There is no state or federal law mandating that employers must give time off to employees to cast their vote.  Voters who know they will not be able to visit the polls on Election Day should apply to vote absentee before the day of the election.

Q.   Can alcoholic beverages be sold on Election Day?

A.    Yes, the ban on the sale of alcoholic liquors on statewide election days was lifted as of July 1, 2014.  For more information contact the S.C. Department of Revenue, (803) 898-5864.

Q.   Can lottery tickets be sold on Election Day?

A.    Yes, lottery tickets can be sold on any Election Day, except for presidential elections.

Q.   Are there any laws about candidates posting their signs along the roadway?

A.    Yes, there are several state laws addressing political signs on roadways, as well as county and municipal ordinances.  See S.C. Code of Laws Sections 57-25-10, 57-25-140, and 7-25-210.  Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the entity that maintains the road (state, county, or municipality) to enforce applicable sign laws.

Q.   When I left the polls, I was asked to participate in an "exit poll."  Is this legal?

A.    Exit polls are legal and participation is voluntary.  They are NOT conducted by the State Election Commission or the county boards of voter registration and elections.  Generally, polls may not be conducted inside the polling place, and we ask that voters not be approached before they have voted.  If a voter feels threatened or intimidated by a pollster, it should be reported immediately to the precinct's poll clerk.

Q.  Where can I file a complaint about the election?

A.    Any complaints regarding the election can be addressed to your county board of voter registration and elections.

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