June 9 primaries to be held as scheduled


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CLARENDON COUNTY - The South Carolina Election Commission announced on Wednesday the June 9 primaries will be held as scheduled.

The commission also urges qualified voters to vote absentee.

Absentee balloting opens Monday, and there are a variety of methods that qualified voters can utilize to maintain social distancing.

"We strongly urge qualified voters to use the mail, especially our elderly voters," said Shirley Black-Oliver, executive director of the Clarendon Voter Registration Office. "We want to keep everyone safe."

Absentee voters also need to specify whether they are voting in the Democratic or Republican primary, Black-Oliver said.

Absentee voters in Clarendon County can request an absentee ballot by:

- email at sblackoliver@clarendoncountygov.org;

- calling (803) 435-8215;

- mailing a request to 411 Sunset Drive, Manning SC 29102;

- faxing a request to (803) 435-9074;

- logging on to scvotes.org and following the prompts; or

- in person at 411 Sunset Drive, Manning SC 29102.

Black-Oliver said she strongly suggests absentee voters use the mail, email, calling, faxing or logging on to scvotes.org to request their ballot and then mail the ballot back to her office at 411 Sunset Drive, Manning SC 29102.

"We want our people to vote," Black-Oliver said. "We are here to assist them in doing that, and if there isn't another option they can use, then we will be here for them to vote in person."

Chris Whitmire with the state election commission also urges qualified voters to apply for their absentee ballots now.

Qualifications for voting by absentee include being age 65 or older, having a disability like an illness or injury or if the voter is attending a sick or disabled person. For a full listing of absentee qualifications, voters can log on to scvotes.org and follow the instructions.

Whitmire also said that election officials throughout the state are taking cautionary steps to protect the health of voters as well as poll workers and managers. Whitmire said that poll managers will receive specialized COVID-19 training on how to apply social distancing and how to maintain sanitary conditions at the polling places.

Election officers are currently working to source masks, face shields and gloves for poll workers as well as sneeze guards for check-in stations, sanitizing wipes for cleaning common surfaces, hand sanitizer for voters and poll workers and cotton swabs for making selections on the voting machine's touchscreen.

When voting on June 9, voters are asked to bring their voter registration card or a photo ID. Double check that your usual polling place is open. Wear a protective mask if you have one. Bring your own pen to sign the voter list, and practice social distancing of at least six feet from others.

Whitmire also asks that voters "be patient."