SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – While voters in Chatham County prepared for a runoff on Tuesday, across the river in South Carolina, some are looking toward the November election.
AARP South Carolina has written letters to state lawmakers indicating its support to reinstate the emergency order used in the state’s June primary. The order made it easier for people to request and receive an absentee ballot.
“As we continue to see COVID-19 numbers and cases rise in South Carolina we’re very concerned about how safe and secure the November election will be,” Patrick Cobb of AARP South Carolina told News 3.
Currently, the law says that anyone 65 and over may request an absentee ballot (for any reason) but that for those younger than that, the criteria is more specific.
Cobb says the emergency order allowed all those who may have felt unsafe to go the absentee ballot route. He also indicates that people getting older may be concerned just as well as those who have reached age 65.
“Our membership is 50 and above so we’re looking out for folks who could possibly have some chronic health conditions and who feel social distancing is something they prefer to do but at this point, just not having the option to vote absentee from their home,” Cobb told us.
AARP South Carolina is supporting six recommendations made by the South Carolina Election Commission:
- Reinstate the “state of emergency” reason allowing every voter the option to vote absentee.
- Allow voters to apply for an absentee ballot online.
- Remove the witness requirement for absentee return envelopes. (AARP says it also strongly supports a plan to provide postage-paid envelopes)
- Allow the use of drop boxes for the return of absentee ballots.
- Provide election officials with more time to process absentee-by-mail ballots or extend the date in which counties must certify the results of the election.
- Allow curbside voting to take place at designated locations.
Cobb says state lawmakers are returning for a two-day session on Sept. 23 and 24. AARP is hopeful lawmakers will allow money from the CARES Act to be used toward the plan to make absentee ballots available to more voters in November.
“We need to make sure we have a safe and secure election in November here in South Carolina,” he said.