South Carolina Constitution


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SECTION 1. Elections to be by secret ballot; protection of right of suffrage.

All elections by the people shall be by secret ballot, but the ballots shall not be counted in secret. The right of suffrage, as regulated in this Constitution, shall be protected by laws regulating elections and prohibiting, under adequate penalties, all undue influence from power, bribery, tumult, or improper conduct. (1970 (56) 2691; 1971 (57) 319.)

SECTION 2. Free exercise of right of suffrage.

No power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage in this State. (1970 (56) 2691; 1971 (57) 319.)

SECTION 3. Electors.

Every citizen possessing the qualifications required by this Constitution and not laboring under the disabilities named in or authorized by it shall be an elector. (1970 (56) 2691; 1971 (57) 319.)

SECTION 4. Voter qualifications.

Every citizen of the United States and of this State of the age of eighteen and upwards who is properly registered is entitled to vote as provided by law. (1970 (56) 2691; 1971 (57) 319; 1974 (58) 3005; 1975 (59) 44; 1997 Act No. 15.)

SECTION 5. Qualifications of municipal electors.

Municipal electors shall possess the qualifications prescribed in this Constitution, but each such elector must have resided in the municipality in which he offers to vote for thirty days next preceding the election. (1970 (56) 2691; 1971 (57) 319.)

SECTION 6. General Assembly may require demonstration of literacy.

The General Assembly may require each person to demonstrate a reasonable ability, except for physical disability, to read and write the English language as a condition to becoming entitled to vote. (1970 (56) 2691; 1971 (57) 319.)

SECTION 7. Disqualifications by reason of mental incompetence or conviction of crime.

The General Assembly shall establish disqualifications for voting by reason of mental incompetence or conviction of serious crime, and may provide for the removal of such disqualifications. Persons who are confined in any penal institution under the judgment of a court shall not be entitled to vote. (1970 (56) 2691; 1971 (57) 319.)

SECTION 8. Registration of voters.

The General Assembly shall provide for the registration of voters for periods not less than ten years in duration. Provision shall be made for registration during every year for persons entitled to be registered. The registration lists shall be public records. (1970 (56) 2691; 1971 (57) 319.)

SECTION 9. Appeal by person denied registration.

Any person denied registration shall have the right to appeal to the court of common pleas, or any judge thereof, and thence to the Supreme Court, to determine his right to vote under the limitations imposed in or authorized by this article, and on such appeal the hearing shall be de novo, and the General Assembly shall provide for such appeal. (1970 (56) 2691; 1971 (57) 319.)

SECTION 10. Nominations; conduct of elections; contests.

The General Assembly shall provide for the nomination of candidates, regulate the time, place and manner of elections, provide for the administration of elections and for absentee voting, insure secrecy of voting, establish procedures for contested elections, and enact other provisions necessary to the fulfillment and integrity of the election process. (1970 (56) 2691; 1971 (57) 319.)

SECTION 11. Electors privileged from arrest.

Electors shall in all cases except treason, felony, or a breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest on the days of election during their attendance at the polls for voting, and going to and returning therefrom. (1970 (56) 2691; 1971 (57) 319.)

SECTION 12. Secret ballot; employee representation by labor organization.

The fundamental right of an individual to vote by secret ballot is guaranteed for a designation, a selection, or an authorization for employee representation by a labor organization.

HISTORY: 2011 Act No. 4, Section 1, eff April 6, 2011.

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