South Carolina | Voting Guide

Registration Deadlines and Election Dates

Voter Registration Deadline: 30 days before Election Day. Mail in registration must postmarked 30 days before Election Day.


  • Democratic Presidential Primary Election Registration Deadline: January 30

  • Democratic Presidential Primary Election: February 29

  • There will be no Republican Presidential Primary Election

  • Primary Election (Other Offices) Registration Deadline: May 11

  • Primary Election (Other Offices): June 9

  • General Election Registration Deadline: October 4

  • General Election: November 3

Official Election Websites
Register at School or Home

Students have a choice about where to register to vote.


Students attending college may register at their campus address or choose to remain registered or register at their permanent or home address.


You may only be registered and vote in one location.

What Type of ID Do I Need to Register?

South Carolina’s voter registration form asks for your full Social Security number. To register online you must have a valid South Carolina driver's license or state ID number.

What Type of ID Do I Need to Vote?

Before voters can cast a ballot, they must present a valid photo ID. Approved IDs include:

  • A South Carolina driver’s license

  • A Photo ID issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles

  • A U.S. Passport

  • A Military ID with a photo or

  • A South Carolina voter registration card with a photo

If you do not have one of these forms of ID and are already registered to vote, you can go to your county voter registration or local DMV office, provide your date of birth and the last four digits of your Social Security Number, and take a photo for a free photo ID.

If you have experienced a reasonable impediment in getting a valid 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 valid photo ID. A reasonable impediment is any valid reason, beyond your control, which created an obstacle to 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, or any other obstacle you find reasonable. This ballot will count unless someone proves to the election commission that you are lying about your identity or about having the identified impediment.

Where Do I Vote?

Make a plan. Check your voter registration and absentee ballot status, look up your voting site and hours at

How Can I Vote?

2020 General Election

  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all registered South Carolina voters can register for an absentee ballot for the November 3 election using the “State of Emergency” excuse.

  • Applications to vote by mail must be received by 5:00 p.m. on October 24 if submitted by mail, or 5:00 p.m. on October 30 if submitted in person.

By Mail

South Carolina requires an excuse to vote by mail. People who can vote absentee include:

  • Students attending school outside their county of residence;

  • Persons with physical disabilities;

  • Persons who, for reasons of employment, will not be able to vote on Election Day;

  • Government employees serving outside their county of residence on Election Day;

  • Persons who plan to be on vacation outside their county of residence on Election Day;

  • Persons attending sick or physically disabled persons; and

  • Persons age 65 years of age or older.

A full list of qualifying reasons and the absentee ballot request form are available at:

Requests for an absentee ballot must be submitted to your county voter registration office by 5 p.m. on the fourth day before Election Day and may be submitted by mail, email, fax, or personal delivery.

Completed absentee ballots must be received by your county voter registration office by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Early In-Person

You may also request and cast an absentee ballot at your county voter registration office in person up until 5 p.m. the day before Election Day. The same voter ID rules for in-person voting (see above) apply when requesting an absentee ballot in person.

Election Day

Voting sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. If you are in line by the closing time, then you have the right to vote.

Common Questions/Concerns

Registering to Vote Does Not Affect Your:

Federal Financial Aid

Where you register to vote will not affect federal financial aid such as Pell Grants, Perkins or Stafford loans, or your dependency status for FAFSA.

Status as a Dependent on Your Parents’ Taxes

Being registered to vote at a different address from your parents does not prevent them from claiming you as a dependent on their taxes.

Tuition Status

Being deemed out-of-state for tuition purposes does not prevent you from choosing to register to vote in your campus community.

Will registering to vote in South Carolina affect my driver’s license or car registration?

South Carolina does not require newly registered voters to obtain a South Carolina driver’s license or register their vehicles there.

Fair Elections Center and Campus Vote Project intend the information contained herein to be used only as a general guide. This document should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a licensed South Carolina legal professional.


Last updated September 2020