South Carolina Resources for Voters with Disabilities

What are my rights as a voter with a disability in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, you have the right to the following as protected by federal law. Election staff must respect these rights:

  • Accessible voter registration
  • Accessible polling places
  • Policies and procedures that do not discriminate against you based on your disability
  • Accessible, available, and operational voting systems, features
  • Your service animal to accompany you inside the polling place
  • The right to vote privately and independently or with assistance, if needed
  • Assistance from a person of choice, who can be a friend, family member, or poll worker (but not your boss, union agent, or a candidate
    unless this person is your family member)
  • Election Staff trained to understand the rights above

In South Carolina, you also have the right to

  • Vote if you have a mental disability and the courts have not taken away your right to vote
  • Vote with a provisional ballot if someone questions your eligibility to vote
Who can register to vote?

To register in South Carolina, you must be

  • A citizen of the United States of America
  • At least 17 and will be turning 18 on or before Election Day 
  • A resident of the precinct where you intend to vote

If you are a student, unhoused, a survivor of intimate partner violence with related concerns, or living with a mental or physical impairment, you may still register and vote

In South Carolina, you may not register or vote if:

What are my rights when registering to vote?

Federal law requires assistance in registering to vote from offices that provide public assistance or state-funded programs serving people with disabilities. Responsibilities include:

  • Providing voter registration forms
  • Assisting voters in completing the forms
  • Transmitting completed forms to the appropriate election official
  • All aspects of voter registration must be accessible  
What are the different ways to vote in South Carolina?
  • Early Voting
  • In person on Election Day
  • Absentee 
  • While abroad as a citizen or military through an absentee ballot request
  • Provisional ballot at a polling place
What are the ways to request an Absentee Ballot in South Carolina?

You may vote absentee with a valid excuse such as a disability.

You can visit, call or email your county voter registration office as early as January 1 of the election year to request a ballot.

Your immediate family member or authorized helper can assist you with this application.

You can return your ballot application to your county voter registration office by mail or by personal delivery. If you ask someone else to return your ballot for you, you must make this authorization in writing.

How is the South Carolina mail-in or absentee ballot process made accessible for voters with print disabilities?

Some forms are available in large print. You may also have assistance in filling out your ballot. 

What accommodations are available for voters with disabilities at polling locations in South Carolina?

Federal law requires polling places to meet minimum compliance standards for individuals with disabilities. 

Polling locations should have accessible parking, ramps, pathways, and doors which are clearly marked. Curbside voting is available as well.

The ExpressVote voting machine allows for tabletop placement for wheelchair access. There is a full color touch screen display with zoom functionality and high contrast white-and-black mode. An Audio-Tactile Keypad and Headphone Jack are available as well. 

ExpressVote allows for large-print ballots, an audio version of the ballots, and is compatible with sip-and-puff and rocker panel devices.

What are the rules of assistance for disabled voters in South Carolina?
  • You may request assistance from a poll worker or receive assistance from a person of your choice with the following exceptions:
    • your employer, an agent of your employer
    • an officer or agent of your union
    • a candidate on the ballot
       
  • A poll worker cannot force you to accept assistance
  • Poll managers have printed instructions available for voters who are deaf or hard of hearing
  • You can use curbside voting as well
How can I prepare to use accessible voting equipment in South Carolina prior to Election Day?

You have the ability to access a sample ballot and can preview and practice using accessible voting equipment. Contact your local election official or the SC Disability Voting Coalition to gain access.

You can watch this video which explains how to use ExpressVote.

If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing, you can watch this video which explains how to vote in SC with an ASL interpreter and subtitles.

Who do I contact if I have problems when voting in South Carolina?

You can contact Disability Rights South Carolina at (866) 275-7273 with any issues you have voting.

You should talk to a poll worker for assistance with any problems you encounter.

To file a formal complaint about voting accessibility, fill the form, get the form notarized, and mail it to S.C. State Election Commission, P. O. Box 5987 Columbia, SC 29205

  • Your complaint will be reviewed to see if it alleges a violation of Title III of HAVA and if it is found to be a violation of Title III, the Executive Director will work with you and your county election officials to determine an informal remedy.
  • If agreement on an informal remedy is not reached, then an administrative hearing will happen on the record. 
  • If your complaint is not resolved within 90 days then it will be referred to the State Election Commission and will be resolved within 60 days.

 You can also fill out a Violation of Civil Rights Complaint Form and submit it to the US Department of Justice by one of the following methods:

  • Online, through the form’s submission process - this is the fastest method.
     
  • By fax at (202) 616-9881. You MUST include “ATTN: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Complaints" at the top of your fax submission for it to be processed correctly.
     
  • By mailing your form to: 

                    U.S. Department of Justice
                    Office of the Inspector General Investigations Division
                     ATTN: Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Complaints
                    950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
                    Washington, DC 20530