SC lawmakers hold hearing on bill that would expand voting access

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — Some South Carolina lawmakers are hoping to change the state’s election laws.

A House Judiciary Subcommittee took up a bill that supporters said would expand voting access in South Carolina.

The legislation was filed by Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-District 66). It would waive the witness signature requirement for absentee voting, allow same-day absentee voter registration and allow no-excuse absentee voting.

It would also allow college IDs to be used as identification while voting.

During Thursday’s meeting, everyone who testified spoke in favor of the bill during the hour-long meeting. Marcurius Byrd said, “I believe this bill will help all parties by helping our citizens get engaged regardless of background.”

Cobb-Hunter told the panel of lawmakers this would help get more people involved in voting.

Lynn Teague with the League of Women Voters of South Carolina said some of the changes in the bill were implemented last year due to the pandemic.

“These elections accommodated high turn out under potentially dangerous pandemic conditions without any evidence of impaired security and can be regarded as extremely successful,” she said.

Another bill on the subcommittee’s agenda was H.4150. That bill would establish no-excuse early voting. In addition, it would limit absentee voting by mail and ban the use of drop boxes.

Supporters said this would help secure elections in South Carolina.

Due to time constraints, the subcommittee did not take any action on either bill. Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Jay Jordan (R-District 63) said they would have another meeting in the near future.

“When it comes to elections and making sure all South Carolinians have the right and opportunity to vote — and also taking into consideration that vote is protected and secured — it’s one of the most important issues we’ll take up at the State House,” Jordan said.

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