Voter registration will be a number one topic in 2016 — all political offices are elected or re-elected right up the President of United States this year.
That is number one reason Shanna Proctor, director of Voter Registration and Elections for Newberry County, is spokesperson for Newberry NOTES this week. She urges citizens to exercise their rights as responsible citizens of South Carolina to get out and vote.
As residents of South Carolina and of Newberry County, we have the privilege of freely expressing our opinions through the voting process. By exercising this right, we are telling present and future officeholders our views and how we want to be represented.
Your vote can make a difference. Many elections in South Carolina have been determined by as few as three or four votes.
To vote, the law requires a person must register and:
• Be a U.S. citizen and be l8 years old on or before the next election
• Be a resident of the state, county, and precinct in which you are register to vote at the address you give on the application
• Not be under a court order declaring you mentally incompetent
• Not be confined in any public prison as result from a conviction of a crime
• There is no length of residency requirement to register to vote.
The voter registration applications must be received by the county voter registration office at least 30 days prior to an election. You can register at your county voter registration office, by mail-in form, or with Department of Motor Vehicles.
Applications are also available for download at www.scvote.org and other county offices or libraries. The application can be returned to the county voter registration office by mail, fax, email or in person. Once approved, a voter registration card will be mailed to you.
At least every two years, there are local and state elections which include elections for U.S. Congress. Every four years there are national elections. You can prepare yourself by listening to and reading information available on all issues and candidates.
Know how you plan to vote before you enter the voting booth. You will vote in the precinct that is named on your voter registration card.
South Carolina uses electronic touch screen voting technology that is easy to use — voters simply touch the screen to vote for a specific person.
The touch screen voting system allows you to review your ballot and to make changes. It also prevents voting for more candidates for a single office than is allowed.
The touch voting system is not connected to a computer network or the internet, preventing any hacking or manipulation of votes.
The ADA-compliant audio ballot supports voters who are visually impaired plus its portability enables curbside and wheelchair voting.
In case of an election recount, the entire election process can be replicated, including the production of all ballots for re-verification.
Three independent memory locations ensure no votes will be lost or altered.
Because it is easy to use, the touch screen voting system will help voters move more quickly through the ballot and through the poll line.
Absentee voting allows voters to cast a ballot prior to Election Day by requesting an absentee ballot from the county voter registration office. The request can be made by phone, in person or by mail. Absentee voting consists of requesting and completing an absentee ballot application, and then receiving and completing a ballot.
Common reasons for absentee voting are 65 or older, physically disabled, or being away during an election. Ballots must be received at the voter registration office no later than 7 p.m. election night.
Poll workers manage the polls on Election Day. They must be a registered voter and work all day to be paid. Polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day. Anyone in line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.
For more information from your county voter registration, visit WWW.scvote.org
Margaret Brackett is from Newberry. Her columns appear weekly in The Newberry Observer.