A Senate subcommittee has agreed to move along a measure to permit early voting in South Carolina.
The bill, S. 4 establishes an early voting period that includes two Saturdays prior to the election with one to-three early voting centers per county, and master tracking of early and absentee voting to prevent repeat voting.
The Senate Judiciary subcommittee approved exactly the same bill that has repeatedly passed the Senate in years past, says sponsor John Scott (D-Richland).
In previous session, the measure was attached to a Voter ID bill and was stripped out in final House -Senate conference committee.
This time, says Scott, there is more of a public outcry for better access to the polls. Prior to the 2012 General Elections, absentee voting reached record levels in his county. Local polling problems there also caused hours of waiting on election day, prompting more calls for an alternative to workday voting.
“I think this time the public will probably get very,very angry, and also very involved in this process. They want early voting,” he said.
Lynn Teague of the SC Chapter of the League of Women voters told the panel, “A working mother or a business owner might not fit precisely into the categories permitted for absentee voting, but would nevertheless find early voting a great help in their busy lives. The benefits to the election system are equally important. Early voting means lower volume at the polls on Election Day and therefore fewer poll workers, fewer voting machines, and shorter lines for those who do choose to vote on Election Day.”
She cited voter November 2012 increases of 30 to fifty percent in North Carolina, Florida, Iowa, Nevada and Colorado. Thirty-two states currently have no-excuse early voting laws.