Voter FAQ for the 2024 Presidential Primaries

Below is a list of our most frequently asked questions about voting in the 2024 Presidential Primaries.

What is a Presidential Primary?

A Presidential Primary is a publicly held election in which voters vote for their choice to be a particular party’s nominee for President.  State political parties use the results of the primary to assign state delegates to the national party convention.  At the national convention, delegates from all participating states choose the party’s nominee.  The party’s nominee goes on the General Election ballot in November.

For more on party nomination of Presidential candidates, contact the appropriate political party.

When are the Presidential Primaries?

The Democratic Presidential Primary is Saturday, February 3.

The Republican Presidential Primary is on Saturday, February 24.

Why are the Presidential Primaries on two separate dates? Why are they being held on Saturdays?

The dates were decided by the political parties. State law allows political parties to set the dates of their Presidential Primaries.

What candidates and/or offices are on the ballot?

The only candidates on a Presidential Primary ballot are those candidates seeking that party’s nomination for President.  No other offices or candidates will appear on the ballot.

Why are there questions on the Republican ballot?

The 2024 ballot for the Republican Presidential Preference Primary includes two sections for voters. The first section includes the names of the Republican Presidential Candidates of which voters will select one name. The second section includes three questions from South Carolina GOP leadership.


Why do ballots still show candidates that have “suspended” their campaigns? And, what happens to votes cast for those candidates?

Candidates who “suspend” their campaigns nationally may also withdraw from contention in the S.C. Presidential Primary.  If so, the state political party notifies the State Election Commission (SEC).  Candidates who withdraw early in the ballot creation process can be removed from the ballot, but those who withdraw after absentee voting is underway cannot be removed from ballots.  Therefore, ballots will show some candidates that have “suspended” their campaigns.

The SEC provides information to voters about candidates who have withdrawn from contention in the S.C. Presidential Primary through the agency website, social media, flyers and posters.  Votes cast for these candidates will be counted, and results will be made available to the public.  Election night results will not show candidates that have withdrawn from contention in the S.C. Presidential Primary.

Why do ballots have a district number beside the office of President?

Political parties require reporting of Presidential Primary results by Congressional District.  The parties use these results as part of a formula for assigning delegates.  Putting the district number beside the office title of President helps election officials report results by Congressional District.  For example, voters in Congressional District 1 will see the office title “President District 1” on their ballot.

Do I have to be a registered member of a party to participate in a Presidential Primary?

No, S.C. does not have registration by party.  The Presidential Primaries are open to all registered S.C. voters.

Can I vote in both the Republican and Democratic Presidential Primaries?

No.  You can vote in either primary, but you can’t vote in both.

If I vote in one party’s Presidential Primary, do I have to vote in that party’s State Primary in June?

No, voting in a Presidential Primary has no effect on your participation in the State Primaries.  Voters will still have the choice of voting in either the Republican or Democratic State Primaries on June 11.

When do I need to register to vote?

The voter registration deadline for the Democratic Presidential Primary is Thursday, January 4.

The deadline for the Republican Presidential Primary is on Thursday, January 25.

I’ve moved since the last time I voted and I haven’t updated my voter registration. Can I still vote?

If you moved to…

  1. … another residence within your precinct, you can update your address at your polling place and vote a regular ballot.
  2. … a different precinct within your county, you are eligible vote Failsafe (see below).
  3. …another residence in another county within 30 days of the election, you are eligible to vote Failsafe (see below).
  4. …another residence in another county prior to the registration deadline, you are not eligible to vote. State law requires you to be registered prior to the deadline to be eligible to vote.
  5. …South Carolina after the October 6 registration deadline, you are not eligible to vote. State law requires you to be registered prior to the deadline to be eligible to vote.

Two Options for Voting Failsafe:

  1. Vote at the polling place in your previous precinct using a failsafe provisional ballot. A failsafe provisional ballot contains only federal, statewide, countywide, and municipality-wide offices.
  2. Go to the voter registration office in the county in which you currently reside, change your address, and vote a regular ballot there.
What do I need to take with me to vote?

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

  • Driver’s license
  • ID card issued by the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Voter Registration Card with Photo
  • Federal Military ID
  • US Passport
How and where can I vote early in person?

Visit an early voting center in your county during the early voting period and vote in person like you would at your polling place on election day. Remember to bring your Photo ID when checking in to vote.

Early Voting Period for the Democratic Presidential Primary

  • Monday, January 22 – Friday, February 2 (closed January 28).
  • 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Early Voting Period for the Republican Presidential Primary

  • Monday, February 12 – Thursday, February 22 (closed February 18 and February 19).
  • 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Visit the early voting page on to see a list of locations for early voting centers in your county.

Who can vote absentee?

State law allows voters with qualifying reasons to vote absentee by mail:

  • Persons with employment obligations which prevent them from voting during early voting hours for the duration of the early voting period, and during the hours the polls are open on election day.
  • Persons attending a sick or physically disabled person which prevents them from voting during early voting hours for the duration of the early voting period, and during the hours the polls are open on election day.
  • Persons confined to a jail or pretrial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial which prevents them from voting during early voting hours for the duration of the early voting period, and during the hours the polls are open on election day.
  • Persons who will be absent from their county of residence during early voting hours for the duration of the early voting period, and during the hours the polls are open on election day.
  • Persons with physical disabilities.
  • Persons sixty-five years of age or older.
  • Members of the Armed Forces and Merchant Marines of the United States, their spouses, and dependents residing with them (Learn more about procedures related to Military and Overseas Citizens).
  • Persons admitted to a hospital as an emergency patient on the day of the election or within a four-day period before the election (see additional details below).
How can I vote absentee?

Voters must apply for an absentee ballot by completing and returning an absentee application to their county voter registration office. Visit our absentee voting page or download our absentee voting guide to learn more.


It's almost Election Day and I still have my absentee ballot. What should I do?
  • You can vote your absentee ballot and return it to your county elections office by mail or personal delivery by 7:00 p.m. on election day (or an early voting center during the early voting period).
    • Ballots returned by mail should be mailed no later than one week prior to election day to help ensure timely delivery.
    • If you still have your ballot within a week prior to election day, consider returning the ballot in person.
    • You may also vote a provisional ballot in person that will count as long as your absentee ballot is not returned before the polls close on election day.
    • Visit absentee voting page to see Photo ID requirements for returning a ballot in person and to learn how Immediate Family Members and Authorized Representatives can return another voter’s ballot.
I'm not voting early. Where do I vote on Election Day?

At the polling place in your precinct.

Visit and select “Find My Polling Place” under MySCVotes or check with your county voter registration office.

Your precinct and polling place are also listed on your voter registration card, however, it is possible your polling place may have changed since the card was issued. Always check your polling place at before leaving to vote.

What hours are polling places open on Election Day?

Polling places will be open 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  As long as you are in line by 7:00 p.m., you will be allowed to vote.

What do I take with me to vote?

Your Photo ID.

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

What if I don’t have one of these Photo IDs?

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.
What happens if I have a Photo ID but don't bring it when voting in person?

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 election. Results are certified on the Thursday after each Presidential Primary.

I’ve lost my non-photo voter registration card. Can I still vote?

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. See answer to previous Question “What if I don’t have one of these Photo IDs?” for details.

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

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 500 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.

A candidate is definitely campaigning while in the polling place, or there is campaign material within 500 feet of the entrance. What can I do?

Inform the poll clerk immediately.  If the issue is not resolved, contact the county board of voter registration and elections.  The county board will address the complaint. See answer to question below to “Where can I report an issue or file a complaint about the election?”

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

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.

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

Yes.  It is permissible for any person, even a candidate, to give a voter a ride as long as it is being done solely to help facilitate voting.  However, no one can offer a voter anything of value in exchange for voting.

Can I take my child with me to vote?

Yes.  Minor children (under age 18) of a voter may accompany the voter in the voting booth.

Are “ballot selfies” legal? Can I take a picture of my ballot and share it with others?

No.  State law prohibits anyone from showing their ballot to another person (see S.C. Code of Laws Section 7-25-100).  The use of cameras is not allowed inside the polling place.

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

Exit polls are legal and participation is voluntary.  They are NOT conducted by the State Election Commission or county election offices.  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.

When and where will results be reported?

Unofficial results will be reported by the State Election Commission (SEC) on election night at  Results are reported as the SEC receives them from each county elections offices.

Results are also reported locally at each polling place and at county elections offices.

What are official results?

Results of the election are certified by election officials after it has been determined that all votes have been counted accurately and completely. Once certified, results are official.

County boards of voter registration and elections certify results for the Presidential Primaries on the Thursday following election day.

How can I trust the accuracy of the results?

Election officials work to ensure a strong and resilient election infrastructure that will continue to serve South Carolinians in the face of any adversity.

Download our resource for an overview of the processes and procedures implemented to keep elections in South Carolina accurate, secure, accessible, and credible.

Is the voting system connected to the internet?

No, the voting system is never connected to the internet. Computers used to tabulate votes, BMDs, and ballot scanners used in South Carolina are not even capable of being connected to the internet.

Where can I report an issue or file a complaint about the election?

Any issues or complaints about an issue at a voting location should first be addressed to a poll manager.  Poll managers may be able to quickly resolve the issue.

If not resolved at the voting location, or if the issue or complaint is regarding some other aspect of the election, voters should contact their county elections office as soon as possible.

You can report possible election fraud or other violations of election laws to the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

How can I help?

Apply to be a poll manager today. State and county election officials work hard all year to ensure that elections are secure and run smoothly, but we can’t do it alone. Poll managers play an important role in conducting fair and impartial elections.