Absentee voting begins today in Aiken

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AIKEN --- For registered voters in Aiken County who qualify, absentee voting for the November election starts today at Kalmia Mall on Richland Avenue.

Stuart Bedenbaugh, the director of the county voter registration and election office, said his office has mailed out 3,000 absentee ballots.

"It's been quite heavy," he said.

VOTING FAUX PAS

A few voters tried to cast their absentee ballot this past Friday, but were told they would have to wait until 9 a.m. today. Voters in Aiken County received a brochure from the state Republican Party telling them the wrong start date and location for absentee voting.

The state Republican Party "did not consult with us on these mailings," Mr. Bedenbaugh said.

Although his office did receive a number of phone calls Friday about the erroneous information, the county's election director said most callers were understanding once they realized where the mistake originated.

Mr. Bedenbaugh wanted to remind voters that South Carolina does not have early voting like many other states do, including Georgia.

QUALIFYING FOR ABSENTEE BALLOT

In order to qualify for absentee voting, state law says the voter must have a reason for voting early that falls into one of 15 legal reasons defined under law:

1. Students attending school outside the county of their residence, their spouses, and dependents residing with them.

2. Members of the Armed Forces and Merchant Marines of the United States, their spouses, and dependents residing with them.

3. Persons serving with the American Red Cross or with the United Service Organizations who are attached to and serving with the Armed Forces of the United States, their spouses and dependents residing with them.

4. Persons in employment who by virtue of their employment are working a shift from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

5. Physically disabled persons.

6. Governmental employees, their spouses and dependents residing with them, who are outside their county of residence from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.

7. Electors with a death or funeral in the family within a three-day period before the election.

8. Persons on vacation who by virtue of vacation plans will be absent from their county of residence on Election Day.

9. Certified poll watchers, poll managers, county voter registration board members and staff, county election commission members and staff working on Election Day.

10. Overseas citizens.

11. Persons attending sick or physically disabled persons.

12. Persons admitted to hospitals as emergency patients on the day of an election or within a four-day period before the election.

13. Persons who will be serving as jurors in a state or federal court on Election Day.

14. Persons 65 years of age or older.

15. Persons confined to a jail or pre-trial facility pending disposition of arrest or trial.

CAST YOUR BALLOT

WHERE: Kalmia Mall at 1680 Richland Ave. West in Aiken

HOURS: Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

WEEKEND HOURS: Sunday, Oct. 19 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 1 from 9 a.m. to noon

IN WAGENER: Absentee voting will be held in at the Roy Warner Park at 4287 Festival Trail Road from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 22.

IN NORTH AUGUSTA: Absentee voting will be held at the Nancy Carson Library at 135 Edgefield Road from noon to 4 p.m. on Oct. 17, 20, 23 and 24.


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