UNION — Absentee ballots are now being cast for the April 23 Union City Council District 3 special election.
The District 3 seat has been vacant since the death of councilman Keith Henderson on January 27. Henderson was serving his third term on city council at the time of his death.
Three people — Vicki Morgan, Robin Price, and Yates Giles — have filed to run in the special election for the District 3 seat. The winner of the special election will serve the remainder of Henderson’s term which expires in 2016.
On election day, District 3 voters will cast their ballots at the Union Housing Authority, Union County Courthouse, Union Country Recreation Department, the Masonic Lodge, and Buffalo Elementary School.
While those precincts will not be open until election day, the absentee precinct for District 3 has already opened and residents are already taking advantage of it to cast their ballots.
Union County Voter Registrar Darlene Pettit said Thursday that the absentee precinct — which is located in her office at 320 E. Main St., Union — for the April 23 special election opened Monday. Pettit said a voting machine has been set up in her office for any District 3 resident who wants to vote absentee. She said seven people have already used the machine to cast their ballots since Monday.
The registrar’s office is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Pettit said those who want to vote absentee must meet one of the following requirements:
• Be a member of the Uniformed Services on active duty.
• Be a member of the Merchant Marine.
• Be a spouse or a dependent of a member of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marine.
• Be a U.S. citizen temporarily residing outside the United States due to employment, serving with the American Red Cross, USO, Peace Corps, etc.
• Be a U.S. citizen permanently residing outside the United States.
• Have a physical disability.
• Be a student, their spouse or dependent residing with them who are outside their county of residence.
• Will, for reasons of employment, not be able to vote on Election Day.
• Be a government employee, their spouse or dependents residing with them who are outside their county of residence on Election Day.
• Be on vacation and outside their county of residence on Election Day.
• Be serving as a juror in a state or federal court on Election Day.
• Be admitted to the hospital as an emergency patient on the day of election or within a four-day period before the election.
• Have a death in the family within a three-day period before the election.
• Be confined to a jail or pre-trial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial.
• Be attending a sick or physically disabled person.
• Be a certified poll watcher, poll manager, county registration board or election commission member or staff working on Election Day.
• Be 65 years of age or older.
Pettit said a District 3 resident who meets any of those requirements can stop in at her office, fill out the correct paperwork and vote absentee using the machine. Voters who choose to cast their ballots in this manner may do so through April 22, the day before the election.
If, however, a voter prefers to vote absentee by mail, Pettit said they can do so provided they meet the requirements for absentee voting. She said that all absentee ballots cast by mail must be received by her office by the close of polls at 7 p.m. on election day.
Whether they vote absentee or on the day of the election, District 3 voters must present a photo ID before they can cast their ballots.
In October 2013, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia approved a state law requiring South Carolina voters to present a government-issued identification photo in order to vote. The requirement took effect January 1 of this year and since then South Carolina voters who go to the polls have to present one of the following five photo IDs:
• S.C. Driver’s License
• DMV-issued ID card
• Federal Military ID
• U.S. Passport
• A Voter Registration Card with photo
Since November 2013, Union County residents can get their voter registration card and accompanying photo at the registrar’s office which has a camera set up to take pictures. Both the paper card the registrar’s office issues and the more permanent version issued by the state are free.
The District 3 special election will be the first election to take place in Union County since the photo ID law took effect.
For more information about voting absentee or obtaining a photo ID for the April 23 special election contact the Union County Voter Registrar’s Office at 864-429-1616 or email@example.com.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.