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Bill Number: 1105 Ratification Number: 393 Act Number 357 Introducing Body: Senate Subject: Conducting an election in each county
(A357, R393, S1105)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 7-13-35, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE REQUIREMENT THAT THE AUTHORITY CHARGED BY LAW WITH CONDUCTING AN ELECTION IN EACH COUNTY PUBLISH NOTICES OF ELECTIONS HELD IN THE COUNTY, SO AS TO INCLUDE IN THIS REQUIREMENT NOTIFICATION OF WHEN THE PROCESS OF EXAMINING THE ENVELOPES CONTAINING ABSENTEE BALLOTS BEGINS; TO AMEND SECTION 7-13-70, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE APPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONERS OF ELECTION IN EACH COUNTY, SO AS TO REQUIRE THE COMMISSIONERS TO APPOINT A CLERK FROM AMONG MANAGERS FOR EACH POLLING PLACE IN THE COUNTY AND ONE FOR EACH POLLING PLACE IN A PRIMARY, SPECIAL, OR MUNICIPAL ELECTION; TO AMEND SECTION 7-13-80, RELATING TO THE APPOINTMENT OF A CLERK BY THE MANAGERS OF ELECTION, SO AS TO DELETE THE AUTHORITY TO APPOINT A CLERK AND ADD REFERENCES TO CLERKS; TO AMEND SECTION 7-13-810, RELATING TO THE POWERS OF MANAGERS OF ELECTIONS, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT CHALLENGES MAY BE MADE AT ANY TIME BEFORE THE OPENING OF THE ENVELOPES CONTAINING THE ABSENTEE BALLOTS INSTEAD OF WHEN THE BALLOTS ARE COUNTED; TO AMEND SECTION 7-15-370, RELATING TO THE ITEMS REQUIRED TO BE FURNISHED EACH PERSON QUALIFIED TO RECEIVE AN ABSENTEE BALLOT, SO AS TO REQUIRE AN ENVELOPE MARKED "BALLOT HEREIN" INSTEAD OF AN UNMARKED ENVELOPE BE FURNISHED EACH QUALIFIED PERSON; AND TO AMEND SECTION 7-15-420, RELATING TO THE TABULATION AND REPORTING OF ABSENTEE BALLOTS, SO AS TO CHANGE THE TIME FOR PROCESSING THE BALLOTS FROM THE CLOSING OF THE POLLS TO 2:00 P.M. ON ELECTION DAY, AUTHORIZE WATCHERS TO BE PRESENT WHEN ABSENTEE BALLOT ENVELOPES ARE EXAMINED, REQUIRE ALL RETURN-ADDRESSED ENVELOPES RECEIVED BEFORE THE CLOSING OF THE POLLS BE EXAMINED, AND MAKE OTHER TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 7-13-35 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 422 of 1988, is further amended to read:
"Section 7-13-35. The authority charged by law with conducting an election shall publish two notices of general, special, and primary elections held in the county or municipality in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or municipality. Included in each notice must be a reminder of the last day persons may register to be eligible to vote in the election for which notice is given, notification of the date, time, and location of the hearing on ballots challenged in the election, a list of the precincts involved in the election, and the location of the polling places in each of the precincts, and notification that the process of examining the return-addressed envelopes containing absentee ballots will begin at 2:00 p.m. on election day. The first notice must appear not later than sixty days before the election and the second notice must appear not later than two weeks after the first notice."
Commissioner to be appointed
SECTION 2. Section 7-13-70 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 422 of 1988, is further amended to read:
"Section 7-13-70. For the purpose of carrying on general or special elections provided for in Section 7-13-10, the Governor, at least ninety days before the election, shall appoint for each county not less than three nor more than five commissioners of election upon the recommendation of the Senator and at least half of the members of the House of Representatives from the respective counties. The Governor shall notify the State Election Commission in writing of the appointments. The commissioners shall continue in office until their successors are appointed and qualified. For the general election held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November in each even-numbered year, the commissioners of election shall appoint three managers of election for each polling place in the county for which they must respectively be appointed for each five hundred electors, or portion of each five hundred electors, registered to vote at the polling place. The commissioners shall also appoint from among the managers a clerk for each polling place in the county; and none of the officers may be removed from office except for incompetence or misconduct. For primaries, special, or municipal elections, the authority charged by law with conducting the primaries, special, or municipal elections shall appoint three managers of election for the first five hundred electors registered to vote in each precinct in the county, municipality, or other election district and one additional manager for each five hundred electors registered to vote in the precinct above the first five hundred electors. The commissioners shall also appoint from among the managers a clerk for each polling place in a primary, special, or municipal election. After their appointment the commissioners, managers, and clerks shall take and subscribe, before any officer authorized to administer oaths, the following oath of office prescribed by Section 26 of Article III of the Constitution: 'I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I am duly qualified, according to the Constitution of this State, to exercise the duties of the office to which I have been appointed, and that I will, to the best of my ability, discharge the duties thereof, and preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of this State and of the United States. So help me God.'
It must be immediately filed in the office of the clerk of court of common pleas of the county in which the commissioners, managers, and clerks are appointed, or, if there is no clerk of court, in the office of the Secretary of State. Before opening the polls, the managers of election shall take and subscribe the oath provided for in Section 7-13-100. Upon the completion of the canvassing of votes, this oath must be filed with the commissioners of election along with the ballots from that election precinct."
Organization of board
SECTION 3. Section 7-13-80 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 7-13-80. The commissioners, managers, and clerks at their first meeting, respectively, shall proceed to organize as a board by appointing one of their number chairman of the board. And the chairman, in each instance, may administer oaths."
Managers may challenge persons
SECTION 4. Section 7-13-810 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 7-13-810. The managers of election shall prevent any person from voting when they have good reason to believe the person has already voted. They shall refuse to allow any person to vote who is not a registered elector or who has become disqualified for any cause to vote in such voting precinct. They may also prevent any voter from consuming more than five minutes in voting, but no manager shall examine, read, or handle the ballot being voted or about to be voted by a voter or interfere in any way with the voting of any voter otherwise than herein provided. Any elector or qualified watcher may, and it is the duty of the managers of the election to, challenge the vote of any person who may be known or suspected not to be a qualified voter. However, the challenges by persons other than a manager must be addressed to the manager and not directly to the voter. The manager shall then present the challenge to the voter and act in accordance with the provisions provided for in this section. All challenges must be made before the time a voter receives a paper ballot or enters into a voting machine and no challenge may be considered after that time. However, challenges may be made at any time before the opening of return-addressed envelopes and the removal of 'Ballot Herein' envelopes from them as to absentee voters. Nothing contained from them affects the right of any elector or qualified watcher to challenge the vote of any person which is fraudulent or when the challenge is based on evidence discovered after the vote is cast."
Marking of envelopes
SECTION 5. Section 7-15-370 (3) of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"(3) An envelope marked 'Ballot Herein' in which all completed ballots are to be placed;".
SECTION 6. Section 7-15-420 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 7-15-420. The county election commission, municipal election commission, county committee for each political party, or executive committee of each municipal party in the case of primary elections are responsible for the tabulation and reporting of absentee ballots. At 2:00 p.m. on election day, the managers appointed pursuant to Section 7-13-70, and in the presence of any watchers that have been appointed pursuant to Section 7-13-860, may begin the process of examining the return-addressed envelopes that have been received by the county registration board making certain that each oath has been properly signed and witnessed and includes the address of the witness. All return-addressed envelopes received by the county registration board before the time for closing the polls must be examined in this manner. No ballot may be counted unless the oath is properly signed and witnessed nor may any ballot be counted which is received by the county registration board after time for closing of the polls. The printed instructions required by Section 7-15-370 (2) to be sent each absentee ballot applicant must notify him that his vote will not be counted in either of these events. If a ballot is not challenged, the sealed return-addressed envelope must be opened by the managers, and the enclosed envelope marked 'Ballot Herein' removed and placed in a locked box or boxes. After the polls close and all return-addressed envelopes have been emptied in this manner, the managers shall remove the ballots contained in the envelopes marked 'Ballot Herein', placing each one in the ballot box provided for the applicable contest. When all absentee ballots have been placed in the ballot boxes, they must be tabulated and reported as a separate precinct in the same manner as other ballots of the county are counted on election day. The absentee voter precinct is a countywide precinct and a part of each election district in the county. If any ballot is challenged, the return-addressed envelope may not be opened, but must be put aside and the procedure set forth in Section 7-13-830 must be utilized; but the absentee voter must be given reasonable notice of the challenged ballot."
SECTION 7. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Approved the 19th day of March, 1990.