South Carolina sets new record for absentee ballot voting

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — More than half a million South Carolinians have cast absentee ballots for the Nov. 3 election, eclipsing the state’s prior record for advance voting set during the 2016 presidential race.

By Monday afternoon, 535,000 voters had returned their absentee ballots, according to data from the South Carolina State Election Commission. In the 2016 election, 503,000 people voted absentee.

Of this year's absentee voters, 299,000 cast their votes in person, and another 236,000 sent their ballots back in the mail.

Courts and the state legislature adjusted voting rules for both the June primaries and the November election due to the coronavirus pandemic, allowing all voters to vote absentee.

The election commission estimates more than a million absentee ballots could be cast in South Carolina for the general election.

Long lines have formed at polling places across the state since absentee voting opened earlier this month.

In Columbia, the state’s capital, city and county leaders said Monday they have not received any information so far that people were being harassed or threatened at the polls. Still, top law enforcement officials pledged that anyone attempting to intimidate or suppress voters would face criminal charges.