UNION COUNTY — What do you need to bring with you to the polls when you go to vote in Tuesday’s Democratic and Republican primaries?
There are 17,162 registered voters in Union County, each of whom is eligible to vote in either of Tuesday’s primaries. To ensure that process goes as smoothly as possible, each registered voter who goes to the polls should bring with them at least one of the following types of photographic identification to present to the poll managers at the precinct they will voting in:
• S.C. Driver’s License
• S.C. DMV ID Card (includes SC Concealed Weapons Permit)
• S.C. Voter Registration Card with a Photo
• Federal Military ID (includes VA Benefits Card)
• U.S. Passport
If you are a registered voter and have one or more of those forms of photographic identification you are ready to vote.
What if you don’t have any of those types of photographic identification? Will you still be able to vote?
The answer is yes, because you can get free photographic identification from the Union County Voter Registrar’s Office during its office hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and, this weekend only, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday) by providing the Registrar with your name, date of birth, and last four digits of your Social Security number. While it is better to do this as soon as possible before Tuesday’s primaries, you can also do so on the day of primary itself.
What if you forget to bring your photographic identification to the polls on Tuesday? While it is much easier if you have the requested photographic identification with you, not having it with you will not prevent you from voting if you are registered to vote and are at the correct polling station.
A voter who forgets to bring their photographic identification to the polls with them may vote a provisional ballot. If you do cast a provisional ballot, however, it will only count if you present your photographic identification to the Voter Registrar prior the certification of the results of the primaries at 10 a.m. this Thursday.
If you cannot get photographic identification you must bring your voter registration card to the polls with you. This is the paper card each voter is issued when they register to vote. When presented to the poll manager, the voter registration card will enable you to cast a provisional ballot.
Voters who exercise this option, however, will be required to sign an affidavit stating they have a reasonable impediment to obtaining photographic identification. A reasonable impediment could be:
• Religious objections to being photographed
• Disability or illness
• Lack of transportation
• Family responsibilities
• Any other obstacle the voter may find reasonable
A provisional ballot cast this way will count unless it is proved to the Union County Elections Commission that the voter was lying on the affidavit they signed.
Some of the county’s registered voters have already cast their ballots at the absentee precinct at the Registrar’s Office. 1246 S. Duncan Bypass, Union.
County residents can vote absentee in either of the following ways:
• Using the voting machine at the Voter Registrar’s Office, 1246 S. Duncan Bypass, Union between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and this Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
• Voting by mail, either by coming in person to the Voter Registrar’s Office and getting a ballot which they can mail in later or calling the office and having one mailed to them.
Those who opt to vote at the Absentee Precinct at the Registrar’s Office or pick up an absentee ballot must present the proper identification as they would if they were voting Tuesday. If they opt to call requesting a ballot they will have to provide the required information over the phone in order to have it mailed to them.
If you do choose to vote absentee by mail, your ballot must be returned to the Voter Registrar’s Office by the time polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday in order for your votes to be counted.
As of Tuesday morning, 55 people had voted absentee.
There will be a total of six contested races — three Democrat, three Republican — on the party ballots on Tuesday, but some precincts will not have Democratic ballots. This is because they fall outside the Union County Council districts where there are contested races for the Democratic Party nominations in those districts. Those districts are:
• Jonesville Box 1
All precincts in the county will have Republican ballots as the races for the GOP nominations for SC House District 42 and US House District 5 are countywide. The third race is for the GOP nomination for the SC Senate 14 seat which will be on the ballot in only part of the county’s precincts.
The following contested races and candidates will be on the Democratic primary ballots:
• Union County Council District 2 — Incumbent Ralph Tucker is being challenged by John Glenn and James R. Rice. No Republicans are running for the seat.
• Union County Council District 3 — Incumbent Tommy Ford is being challenged by Howard “Wahoo” Gibson. The winner of the Democratic nomination for District 3 will face Republican David Sinclair in November.
• Union County Council District 5 — Incumbent Randall “Chump” Hanvey is being challenged by Tommie Hill. No Republicans are running for the seat.
The following contested races and candidates will be on the Republican primary ballots:
• SC House District 42 — Mark Cathcart and Tommy Mann are running for the GOP nomination. The winner will face incumbent Democrat Mike Anthony.
• SC Senate District 14 — Incumbent Harvey Peeler is being challenged by Kenny Price. No Democrats are running for the seat.
• US House District 5 — Incumbent Mick Mulvaney is being challenged by Ray Craig. The winner will face Democrat Fran Person and the nominee of the American Party.
Choosing A Primary
Voters who go to the polls June 14 must choose to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries.
In the event a race is not decided on June 14 a runoff will be held June 28. If you vote in the runoff, you must vote the party you did in the primary. There is only one race on Tuesday’s ballot, the District 2 race for the Democratic nomination, that could go to a runoff.
For more information about the primaries and related issues contact the Union County Voter Registrar’s Office at 864-429-1616.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.