Nathan Ballentine
Nathan Ballentine SC House of Representatives Richland and Lexington Counties (803) 734-2969 www.nathansnews.com

The Senate and House reconvened this week to adopt a Continuing Resolution and a Sine Die resolution so that we can continue with the state’s business beyond the May 14 end of session date. This week we approved a $25 million allocation to COVID-19 testing and another $15 million for election safety while also allowing state government to continue to operate past July 1 without a new budget. The General Assembly is not expected to return until September (something that has not happened in my time in office) where we will see a clearer impact on state revenues and can work towards an updated state budget at that time.

This week we also passed legislation to allow voters to cast no-excuse absentee ballots in the June 9 primaries and runoffs. To avoid crowded polling places, this allows any qualified SC voter to vote absentee either by mail or in person at county election offices. The state typically requires that absentee voters meet certain requirements such as being 65 or older, having a disability or caring for someone who is ill. Now, any SC voter can select another reason, State of Emergency, on the absentee application.

Voting absentee by mail requires the following steps.

Step 1: Get an absentee application in one of two ways: Get the application online from scvotes.org (you must be able to print it or save it for printing later) or request an application for yourself or your immediate family member from your respective county’s local elections office. In Richland County, you will request one from the Richland County Elections and Voter Registration office by phone 803-576-2240; fax 803-576-1510; email: [email protected]; or mail, and you will be mailed an application.

Step 2: Once you’ve printed your application online or received your application in the mail, you must complete it, sign it, and return it to your respective county’s local elections office. You should return the application as soon as possible but no later than 5 pm on the Friday before the election, which is June 5 for the upcoming primary.

Step 3: Receive your absentee ballot in the mail. Step 4: Vote the ballot by following the instructions and returning it to your respective county’s local elections office by 7 pm on the day of the election. You may return the ballot personally or by mail.

The opportunity to vote in person absentee is also an available option. You can go to your respective county’s local elections office, complete an application, and cast your vote. In Richland County, it will be at the Richland County Elections and Voter Registration office located at 2020 Hampton Street, Columbia, SC 29204. You may vote in person absentee up until 5 pm on the day before the election. Rules for photo ID required to vote at the polling place apply.

As a reminder, there will be several important local, State House, and congressional races on the ballot. Since we don’t register by party, you may vote in either primary but you may not vote in both. Keep an eye out on what polling places will be open June 9 because there will be many that will be combined in our area (and throughout the state). I will have an update list at www.nathansnews.com before the election.

If you or your family have any questions as our state continues to get back to work, please contact my office at 734-2969 or email me directly at [email protected] It’s an honor to serve our community and a blessing to be able to connect many individuals and families with the appropriate state agencies to get the answers and results they need. I’m here for you.