News & Press Releases

2016 Statewide Primaries FAQs

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

A.   The candidates and offices on a particular ballot will differ depending on the county and districts in which you reside and the primary in which you're voting (Republican or Democratic).  To see the candidates that will appear on your ballot, visit and click "Get My Sample Ballot" in the mySCVOTES section of the homepage.

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.  However, it's possible your polling place may have changed since the card was issued.  To be sure of the location of your polling place:

  • Visit and click "Find My Polling Place" in the mySCVOTES section of the homepage.
  • Call your county voter registration office.

Q.  What hours will the polls be open?

A.  Polling places will be open 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. for the June 14 Primary and the June 28 Runoff.  As long as you are in line by 7:00 p.m., you will be allowed to vote.

Q.  Do I have to be a registered member of a party to participate in the Statewide Primaries?

A.   No, S.C. does not have registration by party.  The Statewide Primaries are open to all registered S.C. voters.  Poll managers will ask voters, "In which party's primary do you wish to vote today?"

Q.  Why can't I vote in both primaries?

A.  State law prohibits voters from voting in more than one party's primary on the same day.

Q.  If I voted in one party's primary, can I vote in the other party's runoff?

A.   No.  The runoff is a continuation of the primary.  If you voted in a party's primary, you can vote only in the runoff of the same party.  If you were eligible but did not vote in a primary, you can vote in either party's runoff.

Q.  If I didn't vote in either primary, can I vote in a runoff?

A.   Yes.  You have the option of voting in either party's runoff.

Q.  When/where will results be reported?

A.   Unofficial results will be reported on election night at in real time as the SEC receives them from each county elections office.

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

A.   When voting in person, you will be asked to show one of the following Photo IDs:

  • SC Driver's License
  • SC Department of Motor Vehicles ID Card
    • includes SC Concealed Weapons Permit
  • SC Voter Registration Card with Photo
  • US Passport
  • Federal Military ID
    • includes all Department of Defense Photo IDs and the Department of Veterans Affairs Benefits Card

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 count only if you show your photo ID to your county board of voter registration and elections office prior to certification of the primary (on Thursday after the Primary).

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

A.   Yes.  Your voter registration card is your notification that you have registered to vote and shows your precinct and polling place.  Your voter registration card is not necessary to vote.  If you lost your photo voter registration card, you may also vote with your driver's license, DMV issued ID card, federal military ID, or U.S. passport.  If you don't have another Photo ID, you can get a replacement photo voter registration card from your county elections office, even on Election Day.  If you can't get a replacement before going to the polls, bring your non-photo voter registration card with you to the polling place.  See answer to previous Question "What if I don't have one of these Photo IDs?" for details.

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

A.   If you...

  1. ...moved to another residence within your precinct, you can update your address at your polling place and vote a regular ballot.
  2. ...moved to a different precinct within your county, you are eligible vote Failsafe (see below).
  3. ...moved to another residence in another county within 30 days of the primary, you are eligible to vote Failsafe (see below).
  4. ...moved to another residence in another county prior to 30 days before the primary, you are 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 provisional ballot.  A failsafe provisional ballot contains only federal, statewide, countywide, and municipality-wide offices.
  2. The voter may go to the voter registration office in the county in which he currently resides, change his address, and vote a regular ballot there.

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. 

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.  The board will address the complaint.

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

A.   Yes.  It's ok for any person, even a candidate, to give a voter a ride as long as it's solely to help facilitate voting.  However, no one can give a voter anything of value in exchange for voting.

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.  How is the winner determined in a Primary?

A.   A candidate must receive a majority of votes cast for that office to win the primary.  In offices with one seat to fill (most offices), majority is determined by dividing the total votes cast for the office by two.  Any number of votes in excess of the quotient is a majority.  If no candidate has a majority, then the two candidates remaining with the highest number of votes will appear in a runoff two weeks after the date of the primary (June 28).

Q.  How is the winner determined in a runoff?

A.   The candidate with the highest number of votes wins.

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

A.   No.  There is no state or federal law mandating that employers give time off to employees to 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.  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 SC 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, and 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.  Exit polls may not be conducted inside the polling place, and voters should not be approached as they enter the polling place.  If you feel threatened or intimidated by a pollster, report it immediately to the poll clerk.

Back to All News