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More than 1 million votes have already been cast in November’s election in South Carolina. The millionth vote — all by absentee ballot so far — was recorded sometime Wednesday, according to data from the South Carolina Election Commission.

About two-thirds of the absentee ballots have been cast in person. The General Assembly allowed absentee voting for anyone without an excuse this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Around 371,000 absentee ballots have been mailed in, with 100,000 ballots being issued as of Wednesday morning, but not returned, the Election Commission said.

Absentee voting in 2020 has obliterated records from the 2016 general election, where more than 500,000 people voted absentee.

All polling places in South Carolina will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, but do you know the law in South Carolina regarding voting?

Are employers required to provide employees time off to vote?

No state law in SC.

How much time off work must employer provide for voting?

No state law in SC.

Can employer restrict voting hours?

No state law in SC.

Must employees be paid for voting time during work hours?

No state law in SC.

Is employee notice/request required?

No state law in SC.

Does state law protect electoral/partisan activity in the workplace?

Yes. It is unlawful to discharge an employee because of political opinions or the exercise of political rights and privileges. South Carolina law also prohibits the use of or acceptance of bribes to control voting on a particular candidate or measure at an election. It is further unlawful, by threats or other forms of intimidation, to procure, offer, or promise to procure another to vote for or against a particular candidate in any election.

Does state law protect non-electoral political speech in the workplace?

Maybe. Federal courts construing the South Carolina statute (SC Code Ann. § 16-17- 560) are split over whether “political” opinions are limited to governmental, electoral, or partisan matters.

Conclusion

Voting is a right, so go do it. The Right to Vote is something we as Americans have that many in our World do not. There are 20 countries where no one has the right to vote and there are three more countries where only men can vote. We are so blessed to be in this Country and in this State with the Rights we do have. The record for turnout in the state is 2.1 million voters in 2016. Remember, that the fact that you woke up, live in the United States, and have the Right to Vote is a blessing in the perspective of those people who don’t have those blessings.

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