SC Politics

South Carolina early voting is underway

Partisan primary ballots are already being cast across the Palmetto State …

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‘Vote early and vote often,’ the old saying reminds us.

The vote often part is still a no-no, but early voting is now a fact of political life in South Carolina – and is currently in full swing.

Early voting in partisan primary elections commenced on Tuesday (May 28, 2024) and excepting the weekend runs through next Friday (June 7, 2024). Early voting begins at 8:30 a.m. and runs through 5:00 p.m. EDT. Drive-up voting is even available in some counties. Check with your county voting office or visit the S.C. State Election Commission ( for information on locations.

As is the case on election day, voters will also need to show identification before casting their ballots.



For those still wishing to go the traditional route, the actual partisan primary elections will be held on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

It’s projected as many as 40 percent of all primary votes will be cast during the two-week early voting period. Some forecasts say the total could even reach 50 percent. Whenever you decide to vote, though, you must request either a Republican or Democratic ballot. South Carolina remains an open primary state. While you can vote in the primary of your choosing, you cannot vote in both.

Also, once you pick a partisan primary in which to vote … you’re stuck with it in the event certain races aren’t settled on the first ballot. In South Carolina partisan primary races, if no candidate receives a majority of votes on the first ballot then the top two vote-getters face off in a runoff election two weeks later. And if there’s a runoff election, you can only vote for candidates in the party you voted for in the primary. 




The debate over these rules has been intense in recent years. Conservatives, in particular, want closed primaries in which only registered Democrats can vote for Democratic candidates and only registered Republicans can vote for Republican candidates. GOP support for closing primaries is strong. On the ballot for this year’s South Carolina presidential primary back in February, 73.2 percent of GOP primary voters supported voting by party registration.

Many conservatives also support a return to traditional paper ballots as a necessary step for safeguarding the integrity of the election process. Others want to see early voting scrapped altogether.

Will that happen? The answer could hinge on how many people participate in the current early voting process. A large turnout would strongly suggest South Carolinians have embraced the new two-week voting window – making its repeal unlikely.

In addition to reporting on the outcome of next month’s races, count on this media outlet to keep our audience in the loop on the number of early votes cast ahead of election day on June 11.



Mark Powell (Provided)

J. Mark Powell is an award-winning former TV journalist, government communications veteran, and a political consultant. He is also an author and an avid Civil War enthusiast. Got a tip or a story idea for Mark? Email him at



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