Recently, the South Carolina House unanimously passed a bill that would allow two weeks of early voting. If this bill passes, it would expand the opportunity for working people to be able to vote, and allow South Carolinians to vote at the polls on Saturday.
We are excited about the bipartisan enthusiasm surrounding this bill as it heads to the Senate. But, this legislation reminds us that our fight against voter suppression is far from over.
This March, as we're celebrating Women's History Month, we must remember that, to this day, women are disproportionately affected by restrictive voting laws. Most caregivers are also women, specifically women of color. Roughly 85% of Black mothers and 60% of Latinx mothers are caregivers for their families as well as primary or co-breadwinners.
South Carolina is currently one of five states that still does not allow voters to regularly cast ballots for early voting prior to election day. Cutbacks to early in-person voting opportunities block many caregivers from accessing the ballot. Caregivers require more flexibility in voting hours and options to be able to cast their ballots.
The bill would allow any registered voter to regularly vote early (without an "excuse"). It would also require polls to stay open Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Opening polls on Saturdays would expand the opportunity for working people, especially working caregivers, who cannot make it to the polls during the week to be able to vote.
We have more work to do to ensure that all women – and all people, regardless of gender identity – are able to exercise their voting rights. Passing this early voting legislation would be a good start.
We hope you'll join us in telling your legislator you want early voting access for ALL South Carolinians.
ACLU of South Carolina