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971Ratification Number: 450Act Number: 407Introducing Body: SenateSubject: Provide a procedure by which electors who, because of physical handicap or age, may vote outside of the polling place, and provide a procedure by which a qualified absentee elector may apply for a special write-in absentee ballot, and establish the conditions under which the ballot would be used
(A407, R450, S971)
AN ACT AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTIONS 7-13-771 AND 7-15-400 SO AS TO PROVIDE A PROCEDURE BY WHICH ELECTORS WHO, BECAUSE OF PHYSICAL HANDICAP OR AGE, MAY VOTE OUTSIDE OF THE POLLING PLACE, AND PROVIDE A PROCEDURE BY WHICH A QUALIFIED ABSENTEE ELECTOR MAY APPLY FOR A SPECIAL WRITE-IN ABSENTEE BALLOT, AND ESTABLISH THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH THE BALLOT WOULD BE USED, AND TO AMEND SECTION 7-15-120, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE FORMS REQUIRED FOR ABSENTEE VOTER REGISTRATION, SO AS TO AUTHORIZE A PERSON APPLYING UNDER THE PHYSICALLY DISABLED DUE TO ILLNESS OR INJURY CATEGORY TO BE REGISTERED PERMANENTLY IF HE PRESENTS A WRITTEN STATEMENT OF THE DISABILITY BY HIS DOCTOR TO HIS COUNTY BOARD OF REGISTRATION.
The General Assembly finds that the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act (Public Law 98-435) approved September 28, 1984, requires each state to improve access for handicapped and elderly individuals to registration facilities and polling places for federal elections. It is the purpose of this act to comply with the provisions of that law.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Voting by physically handicapped electors
SECTION 1. The 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 7-13-771. (A) Any elector who, because of physical handicap or age, cannot enter the polling place in the precinct in which he is registered to vote, or is unable to stand in line to vote, may vote outside that polling place in the closest available parking area utilizing the vehicle in which he has been driven, or has driven to the polls.
(B) When the managers are informed that a handicapped or elderly voter cannot enter the polling place or cannot stand in line to vote, the voter's identification required by Section 7-13-710 must be presented to the managers who must verify that the voter is eligible to vote. Upon verification of the voter's eligibility, two managers shall take the poll list and the voter's ballot to the voter in his vehicle outside the polling place. The managers shall notify any poll watchers present who, at their discretion, may accompany the managers as observers. Where the polling place uses machines for the purposes of voting, the poll managers must use the ballots provided under Sections 7-13-1470 or 7-13-1870 for those voters who cannot enter the polling place.
(C) No person other than the voter is permitted in the vehicle in which the voter is casting his ballot unless the voter is entitled to assistance as provided in Section 7-13-770.
(D) After the voter has voted his ballot, he must fold it so that the secrecy of the ballot is preserved and return it to the managers waiting outside the vehicle. The managers shall carry the ballot to the ballot box, taking care not to violate the secrecy of the ballot, and after detaching the stub, deposit the ballot in the ballot box."
SECTION 2. Category (5) as contained in Section 7-15-120 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"(j) sixty-five years of age or older
/ / ."
Validity of form
SECTION 3. The next to the last paragraph of Section 7-15-120 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 280 of 1982, is further amended to read:
"Except for persons in category (5) (g) of this form, registration by this form, if granted by your county board of registration, is valid only for the elections to be held during this calendar year. For elections which are held in subsequent calendar years, you must be registered again. Persons applying under category (5) (g), 'physically disabled due to illness or injury', may, upon presentation of a written statement of such disability by their doctor and persons who are sixty-five years of age or older, may use this form instead of the regular registration form to be registered permanently."
Special write-in absentee ballot
SECTION 4. Article 5 of Chapter 15 of Title 7 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 7-15-400. (A) A qualified absentee elector as provided in subsection (C) of this section may apply not earlier than ninety days before an election for a special write-in absentee ballot. This ballot must be used for each general and special election and primaries for federal offices, statewide offices, and members of the General Assembly.
(B) The application for a special write-in absentee ballot may be made on the federal post card application form or on a form prescribed by the State Election Commission.
(C) In order to qualify for a special write-in absentee ballot, the voter must state that he is unable to vote by regular absentee ballot or in person due to requirements of military service or due to living in isolated areas or extremely remote areas of the world. This statement may be made on the federal post card application or on a form prepared by the State Election Commission and supplied and returned with the special write-in absentee ballot.
(D) Upon receipt of this application, the County Board of Registration shall issue the special write-in absentee ballot which must be prescribed and provided by the State Election Commission. The ballot shall list the offices for election in the general election. It may list the candidates for office if known at the time of election. This ballot shall permit the elector to vote by writing in a party preference for each office, the names of specific candidates for each office, or the name of the person whom the voter prefers for each office."
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect upon approval by the Governor.