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Activist Group’s Efforts Create Potential for Voter Confusion


COLUMBIA, S.C. (January 25, 2008) - In light of an activist group's recent efforts to encourage voters to bring paper ballots with them to the polls, the State Election Commission (SEC) wants to make clear the rules for casting a ballot in Saturday's Democratic Presidential Preference Primary.

This group's efforts also include distribution of a ballot made to closely resemble official paper ballots.  Our concern is that this effort will cause voters to think they can take this ballot to their polling place and cast it as an official ballot.

State law requires voters to cast their ballots on the state's electronic voting system on election day.  In the event that a voting machine is unavailable, poll workers are to use pre-printed emergency paper ballots provided to them by the county election commissions.  If these pre-printed paper ballots are insufficient, the county election commission should have more ballots delivered.  If supplies of pre-printed paper ballots run out, poll workers are to use any available paper to provide ballots to voters made as nearly as possible to the form of the official ballot. 

A circumstance where it would be useful for a voter to bring his own paper ballot to his polling place to vote would be extremely rare.  Attempting to address this very specific issue with such a broad effort has great potential to confuse, and possibly disenfranchise, voters.

In the spirit of reducing this potential for confusion, the SEC asks media outlets not to encourage voters to bring their own paper ballots to their polling place.

For accurate and up-to-date information about elections in South Carolina, visit the SEC's website at

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