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Deadline to register to vote nears; absentee voting starts up

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Reece Murphy
rmurphy@thelancasternews.com
Lancaster County election officials have been busier than usual this week with the deadline quickly approaching for new voter registration and the start of absentee voting.
Lancaster County Voter Registration Director Mary Ann Hudson said new voter registration for South Carolina ends Saturday, Oct. 6, at noon.
She said the Lancaster office, inside the Lancaster County Administration Building, 101 N. Main St. (Room 158), will be open that day from 9 a.m. to noon to accommodate last-minute registrants. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“If they come to the office and fill out the forms here, we’ll go ahead and give them their (voter registration) cards,” Hudson said. “If someone else brings in their form,  we’ll mail them their cards.”
Hudson said new registrants need either a valid South Carolina drivers license or photo ID to register.
If the registrant doesn’t have either of those, other acceptable forms of identification include documents that include both the person’s name and address such as a bank statement, utility bill, paycheck, government check or government document.
Hudson said it’s important for new registrants without ID to understand that their name and address must be on the document itself since it’s the document that is acceptable, not just the envelope for the document.
Even as the voter registration deadline approaches, absentee voting is just getting cranked up.
Hudson said absentee voting began Monday, Oct.  1, for Lancaster County residents who qualify.
Absentee voters may cast their ballot either by mail or in person at the voter registration office.
To cast an absentee ballot, you must first fill out an absentee-voting application and request an absentee ballot be mailed to you.
You may make the ballot request in person, by phone, mail, e-mail or fax and then either mail the ballot back in or drop it off at the office.
Hudson said her office has been busier than usual this week, a fact that comes amid an already busier than usual election season.
“As busy as it was in 2008, I think it’s going to be even busier this year,” Hudson said. “At this point in 2008, it didn’t get this busy until about three weeks before the election.
“It’s tough, but good because you really do want to see people vote,” she said. “And this election, people want to vote.”
For details on both voter registration and absentee voting, call (803) 285-2969 or visit the Voter Registration and Elections website at www.mylancastersc.org.

Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151