The Democratic presidential preference primary is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 29 (it’s a Leap Year). We do anticipate the polls to be busy, so don’t delay in requesting your absentee ballot and get caught in the last-minute rush.

The ballots for absentee voting will be ready by mid to late January. Anyone who is 65 or older or disabled automatically qualifies to vote by absentee ballot. If you requested absentee ballots in the past but have not done so for the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, you will not be mailed a ballot until you submit a new request. Note that at this time, we can only take absentee requests for the 2020 Democratic primary. If you would like absentee ballots for the June primaries, runoff(s), and General Election, you must make that request after Jan. 1.

Additional qualifying reasons:

1) Students attending school outside of the Greenwood area that will not be in

the county on the day of the election.

2) Voters who will be on vacation outside of Greenwood County.

3) Employment – voters who will be working from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. or who will be outside of Greenwood County during these hours on business.

4) Voters in the military or overseas that will be outside of Greenwood County on Election Day.

To obtain a full list of qualifying reasons to vote absentee, visit scvotes.org

A voter or an immediate family member can make the request. Once the request is received, the application will be mailed. Upon receipt, the voter should check the appropriate reason for the request, sign and date. The application must be signed by the voter. The signature will be verified against the original voter registration application on file. If the voter is blind or physically disabled, call the office for instructions. The ballot will be mailed as soon as the application is received and approved.

To complete the paper ballot, color in the oval next to the candidate of your choice. When finished, the ballot should be placed in the envelope marked “ballots herein” and then in the envelope with the oath printed on the back. The oath must be signed by the voter, witnessed and must also include the address of the witness. If the signature of the voter or the witness signature and address are missing, the ballot cannot be counted.

All ballots must be received in our office no later than 7 p.m. on the night of the primary to be counted, so return your ballot as soon as it had been completed.

A voter may also vote absentee in-person at our office. If you know that you will be away on Feb. 29, call our office to verify that the ballot is ready.

It is still unclear if the Republicans will have a presidential preference primary, so remember that you can only participate in one party’s primary.

For information on voting absentee or to make a request, call our office at 942-3152 or 942-3153. Our hours are 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. We are in the Park Plaza Building, Greenwood.

Moody is director of Voter Registration & Elections for Greenwood County.