by Sam Spence
Congratulations, you've made it this far through the campaign ads, the semi-hourly emails, and now the 'bayonets and horses' of the debates. You can almost smell the air in the elementary school multi-purpose room where you'll be voting. There's just one problem, you know you can't make it to the polls on November 6. Bummer. But, don't go counting your chads before they're punched, you can still vote absentee—until 5:00pm the day of the election, in fact.
Assuming you're already registered and you just want to vote via snail mail, head to SCVotes.org to download an application for an absentee ballot or call your local county voter registration office and request a ballot be sent to you.
If you haven't registered yet, sorry, Charlie, the registration deadline passed earlier this month (1 month before election day). But go ahead and register today and you'll be good to go next election day.
Unlike some states, South Carolina doesn't have true early voting, which allows anyone to go to the polls before the Constitutionally-mandated first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, but if you meet certain criteria, you can head to your local election office before 5:00pm on election day and fill out your absentee ballot right there and cast your vote. The State of South Carolina lays out specific circumstances that qualify a voter to be eligible to vote in-person absentee, so be sure to check and see if you qualify. Fortunately, the rules make it pretty easy for those who know they'll be out of town, will be working, or are physically unable to get to the polls to vote. But don't say we didn't warn you, you'll have to sign an affidavit swearing your reason for voting absentee is legit. So unless your hangover puts you in the hospital (see rule #12), you'll need to come up with a better excuse. This is all about being actively involved and exercising your right to vote though, so suck it up and sign on the line that is dotted.
After you vote, be sure to check to make sure your ballot was processed.