Absentee balloting now open, county officials urge voting by mail

By Jason Evans

Staff Reporter

PICKENS — Every voter in South Carolina can vote absentee in the June primaries and any necessary runoffs, and officials are urging residents to stay at home and vote by mail.

The General Assembly passed legislation May 12 authorizing any voter to vote absentee in any election in June, and Gov. Henry McMaster signed it into law the following day.

The provision expires on July 1 and does not apply to any election after that date.

Travis Alexander, Pickens County’s new director of voter registration and elections, says that absentee voting has begun in the county.

Alexander discussed voting during a virtual briefing county officials held Thursday afternoon on Phase II of the Kickstart Pickens County plan.

“Our absentee precinct here at the county is already open,” he said. “You can actually call in now if you want to come in to vote.”

For more information, call (864) 898-5948.

The number is also posted outside the office. Voters can pull up to the curb and call, and an employee will come out and escort them to the voting office so they can vote, Alexander said.

The county elections office is open from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Elections office employees will wear masks, Alexander said. Face shields and gloves will also be available.

“We want to practice that social distancing in the voting office,” he said. “We’re going to ask our voters, if they do have masks, they may wear those also inside.”

Masks may be available to give out to voters as well,

Each voter voting absentee in the county will be given a cotton swab to use to touch the screen of the voting machine “so we don’t transmit anything,” Alexander said.

“You can actually throw this Q-tip away as soon as you finish voting,” he said.

Officials are encouraging absentee voting by mail, Alexander said.

Applications to vote absentee by mail can be found at

Under the new provision, any voters can select Reason 18 – State of Emergency on the absentee application.

Print out the application, sign and date it and mail it out.

Once the application is received, an absentee ballot will be mailed to you.

“We encourage you to do absentee by mail, but we will be here at the county office, practicing social distancing,” Alexander said.

During the briefing, a viewer asked if sample ballots were available.

“For each voter, it’s going to be different,” Alexander said.

If you visit and enter your information, “you can actually see the sample ballot you’ll be voting on,” he said.