An early voting bill passed the Senate in a key procedural vote Thursday.
After a three-year effort, senators passed a bill on second reading that sets a ten-day period for early voting prior to general elections. Early voting would stop three days prior to regular voting. The bill keeps the current absentee voting procedures unchanged.
Before it passed, the measure faced a filibuster from Sen. Lee Bright (Spartanburg) who wanted to add a separate registration for early voters.
AUDIO: Bill sponsor John Scott (D-Richland) challenged Bright (:50)
Senate Republicans talked Bright into withdrawing his amendment. Bright still has a bill in committee that would do the same thing.
Another Upstate Republican senator was ruled out-of-order for trying to add registration requirements to the early voting bill.
Senator Tom Corbin (R-Greenville) pushed for what he called “purity in the voting process” and put up an amendment to require people registering to vote to list what country they were born in.
AUDIO: Senator Brad Hutto (D-Orangeburg argued with Corbin that anyone registering has to prove their citizenship already. (:27)
Corbin’s amendment was ruled to be extraneous to the early voting bill.
The measure then passed easily in a 34-5, bipartisan vote.
Senate Democratic Leader Senator Nikki Setzler says the early voting bill that passed the Senate Thursday is a major step to make voting easier.