On October 2, The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the ACLU of South Carolina, and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP filed a federal lawsuit challenging South Carolina’s failure to allow absentee voters to correct minor concerns on their ballot envelopes is unconstitutional and must be corrected before the November election. South Carolina’s lack of an effective notice and cure process violates voters’ due process rights and their right to vote and will lead to the disenfranchisement of large numbers of eligible voters in the upcoming election.
South Carolina election law requires election officials to reject any absentee ballot based on a missing signature on the outside of the ballot return envelope, and voters are not required to be notified if this happens. The plaintiffs are asking officials to direct county election officials to immediately provide voters with notice and an opportunity to cure those issues, so they can ensure their ballot if not unnecessarily disqualified before the election is over. The plaintiffs are asking the court to order relief in time to prevent eligible voters’ absentee ballots from being thrown out in the November election.
Just like all other voters, absentee voters need to be given notice of the problem and an opportunity to be heard.