South Carolina: Early voting coming after lawmakers reach deal on election board oversight | Zak Koeske/The State
True early voting in South Carolina appears likely to become a reality this year. Both the House and Senate on Wednesday approved elections bills that add two weeks of early in-person voting, establish a set number of early voting sites in each county and authorize election officials to begin examining and tabulating absentee votes prior to Election Day. The popular legislation had appeared dead just a few weeks ago due to the Senate’s insistence on including a provision giving the body say-so over the governor’s appointments to the state elections board, which the House and Gov. Henry McMaster would not entertain. Senators late Wednesday dropped that demand, settling instead for confirmation of the state election director and a process for removing the elections board or its executive director if they fail to enforce and defend or publicly discredit state elections laws. “In a way, what we have here is better than advice and consent on the board,” said Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Charleston, the amended election bill’s sponsor. Campsen explained that while senators may not be able to deny board nominees up front, they now have a process for removing them once they’re seated, if need be.