Witness signature issue on South Carolina absentee ballots, what’s the latest?


SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – If you live in South Carolina, there’s been a lot of discussion in recent months about the state’s requirement to have a witness signature on your absentee ballot.

The state has a law that says someone must sign your ballot as a sign that they have witnessed you have signed it and you are indeed the one casting the ballot.

Last week, a three member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth District indicated the signature would still be required. But late Friday, there came an announcement that the full court would consider the issue, meaning that technically no signature is required right now.

Still, the South Carolina democratic party, which brought the lawsuit, says it’s not over. Trav Robertson, Jr. who is party chair says they’re hoping the court takes this matter up as quickly as possible, but until a decision is truly made, he says they’re still advising people to get a witness signature.

“We don’t want there to be any questions about anybody’s ballot or their votes,” said Robertson.

The legal action brings the argument that finding a witness during a pandemic might be dangerous, especially for older voters who have been self isolation.

Patrick Cobb from AARP South Carolina says his organization has shared that concern but is also concerned that people may be confused by the “on again off again” signature requirement.

“We’re still telling voters that if it’s possible for them to do safely that they should go ahead and obtain a witness signature for the absentee by mail ballot just in case,” he said. “Not knowing how this court case is going to turn out we would not want their vote to be invalid.”

The South Carolina Election Commission also said it is possible the court ruling could change and the “safest practice at this time is to have your signature witnessed.”

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