South Carolina
South Carolina
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Grade TL;DR

Over the last two years, the South Carolina State Legislature made several changes to their voting rights laws. In 2021, we did not see any significant election-related laws during the 2021 session. However, in 2022, the Legislature passed a bipartisan bill that included both pro- and anti-voter measures, which includes expansion on absentee ballot processing and early voting, as well as new restrictions on absentee voting. Given the state’s overall landscape in 2020, and weighing the positive and negative changes made in 2022 as well as the fact that additional restrictions were not passed, South Carolina received a B+ on this year’s progress report.

Looking Back

Where South Carolina Started in 2020

  • Automatic Voter Registration: No
  • Online Voter Registration: DMV ID
  • Same-Day Registration: No
  • Restoration of Rights: Parole and/or Probation Disenfranchisement
  • Vote by Mail: Excuse-Only
  • Electronic Registration Information Center Member: Yes
  • Early Voting Opportunities: No
  • ID Requirements: ID Requested, but not Required

Relying on the Cost of Voting Index for South Carolina as of 2020, we considered the state a bottom tier state for pre-existing voting policy and compared its 2021-22 activity against other bottom tier states.

How Our Tier Compares:

  • COVI (2020): 44th
  • EPI Score (2020): 24th
  • CLC State Scorecard (2022): 4/10
  • MAP Democracy Rating (2022): LOW

2021: Two Years Ago

Legislative Action

The Legislature did not pass any significant election-related laws during the 2021 session.

2022: This Past Year

Legislative Action

In 2022, the South Carolina Legislature passed a bipartisan bill that contained both pro-voter reforms and anti-voter restrictions in 2022.

  • S 108 establishes a two-week universal in-person early voting period and allows absentee ballot processing to begin before Election Day. The bill also includes a few absentee voting restrictions including requiring all applicants to include a partial Social Security number, restricting ballot returns to five ballots per person, and clarifying that drop boxes are not allowed, as existing law was silent on the issue.