FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Columbia, S.C. - In a victory for voting rights, South Carolina took steps today to better protect voters in the November general election during the COVID-19 pandemic. The action comes following a federal lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina, ACLU, and NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
“Today’s action by the South Carolina legislature is an important step forward for South Carolinians who want to vote in the general election without risking their health during COVID-19,” said Ali Titus, Director of Policy and Communications with the ACLU of South Carolina. “We commend the legislature for taking action and urge Governor McMaster to quickly sign this into law.”
The groups filed a lawsuit in April challenging the state’s failure to ensure all eligible voters can vote by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic. Plaintiffs are challenging a state requirement that forces people who vote absentee to have an “excuse” to do so, as well as a witness requirement for absentee ballots.
“Unfortunately, this legislation does not waive the witness signature requirement on absentee ballots, which makes voting from a safe social distance impossible for those who live alone,” Titus continued. “We are asking the courts to remove this remaining hurdle to safe voting in South Carolina.”
If signed into law by Governor McMaster, the legislation passed today will enable every eligible voter to vote absentee in the general election in order to protect their health and well-being.