Current Status Bill Number:
1216Ratification Number: 532Act Number: 466Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: SenateIntroduced Date: 19960305Primary Sponsor: HollandAll Sponsors: HollandDrafted Document Number: jud6074.dhhDate Bill Passed both Bodies: 19960612Date of Last Amendment: 19960529Governor's Action: SDate of Governor's Action: 19960821Subject: Multiple Site Voter Registration
Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ _______________________________________ _______ ____________ ------ 19960830 Act No. A466 ------ 19960821 Signed by Governor ------ 19960626 Ratified R532 House 19960612 Concurred in Senate amendment, enrolled for ratification Senate 19960529 House amendments amended, returned to House with amendment House 19960528 Amended, read third time, returned to Senate with amendment House 19960523 Debate adjourned until Tuesday, 19960528 House 19960522 Objection by Representative Young- Brickell Sandifer Law Klauber Scott Neal Cromer Lloyd Trotter House 19960521 Read second time House 19960521 Objection by Representative Hutson House 19960521 Amended House 19960515 Committee report: Favorable with 25 HJ amendment House 19960327 Introduced, read first time, 25 HJ referred to Committee Senate 19960326 Read third time, sent to House Senate 19960321 Read second time, notice of general amendments Senate 19960320 Committee report: Favorable 11 SJ Senate 19960305 Introduced, read first time, 11 SJ referred to CommitteeView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
(A466, R532, S1216)
AN ACT TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING ARTICLE 4 TO CHAPTER 5, TITLE 7, SO AS TO ENACT PROVISIONS FOR MULTIPLE SITE VOTER REGISTRATION AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA STATE ELECTION COMMISSION IN IMPLEMENTING THE NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION ACT OF 1993; TO AMEND SECTION 7-3-20, RELATING TO THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE STATE ELECTION COMMISSION, SO AS TO, AMONG OTHER THINGS, REQUIRE THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO MAINTAIN A COMPLETE MASTER FILE, RATHER THAN A ROSTER, OF ALL QUALIFIED ELECTORS, REQUIRE HIM TO DELETE THE NAME OF ANY ELECTOR WHO REQUESTS IN WRITING THAT HIS NAME BE REMOVED, MAKE THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SERVE AS THE CHIEF STATE ELECTION OFFICIAL RESPONSIBLE FOR IMPLEMENTING AND COORDINATING THE STATE'S RESPONSIBILITIES UNDER THE NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION ACT OF 1993, AND DELETE CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF LAW; TO AMEND SECTION 7-3-30, RELATING TO NOTICE OF DELETION OF ELECTOR'S NAME FROM ROSTER OF ELECTORS, APPEAL BY ELECTOR, AND RESTORATION OF NAME, SO AS TO, AMONG OTHER THINGS, PROVIDE FOR A MASTER FILE, RATHER THAN A ROSTER, DELETE CERTAIN PROVISIONS, AND PROVIDE THAT IF THE DELETION IS FOR CONVICTION, THE APPEAL MUST BE TO THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE STATE ELECTION COMMISSION; TO AMEND SECTION 7-5-155, RELATING TO REGISTRATION OF ELECTORS BY MAIL, SO AS TO, AMONG OTHER THINGS, DELETE CERTAIN PROVISIONS, PROVIDE THAT IF THE POSTMARK DATE IS MISSING OR ILLEGIBLE, THE COUNTY BOARD OF VOTER REGISTRATION SHALL ACCEPT THE APPLICATION IF IT IS RECEIVED BY MAIL NO LATER THAN FIVE DAYS AFTER THE CLOSE OF THE REGISTRATION BOOKS BEFORE ANY ELECTION, AND REQUIRE COUNTY BOARDS OF VOTER REGISTRATION TO DISTRIBUTE APPLICATION FORMS TO CITY HALLS AND PUBLIC LIBRARIES; TO AMEND SECTION 7-5-440, RELATING TO THE REQUIREMENT THAT AN ELECTOR'S NAME MUST APPEAR ON THE LIST OF VOTERS IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE TO VOTE, SO AS TO ESTABLISH A PROCEDURE BY WHICH A QUALIFIED ELECTOR WHO HAS MOVED FROM ONE ADDRESS TO ANOTHER AND HAS FAILED TO NOTIFY THE COUNTY BOARD OF REGISTRATION OF A CHANGE OF ADDRESS MAY VOTE; TO AMEND SECTION 7-7-720, RELATING TO CERTIFICATES WHICH MUST BE MAILED TO PERSONS WHOSE REGISTRATION IS TRANSFERRED, SO AS TO CHANGE THE PROCEDURE BY WHICH AN ELECTOR'S NAME MAY BE DELETED FROM THE MASTER FILE; TO AMEND SECTION 7-7-910, RELATING TO THE PLACE REGISTERED ELECTORS ARE REQUIRED TO VOTE, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE SECTION IS ALSO SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 7-5-440, AND DELETE THE PROVISIONS WHICH REQUIRE AN ELECTOR TO VOTE AT THE VOTING PLACE NEAREST TO HIS RESIDENCE WITHIN THE WARD OR OTHER SUBDIVISION OF HIS RESIDENCE, AND TO PROVIDE THAT HE MUST VOTE AT HIS DESIGNATED POLLING PLACE; TO AMEND SECTION 7-13-810, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE POWERS OF THE MANAGERS OF ELECTIONS, SO AS TO ADD A PROVISION WHICH WOULD AUTHORIZE ANY CANDIDATE TO PROTEST AN ELECTION IN WHICH HE IS A CANDIDATE PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 7-17-30, WHEN THE PROTEST IS BASED IN WHOLE OR IN PART ON EVIDENCE DISCOVERED AFTER THE ELECTION, AND PROVIDE WHAT THIS EVIDENCE MAY INCLUDE; AND TO AMEND SECTION 7-25-180, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE DISTRIBUTION OF CAMPAIGN LITERATURE ON ELECTION DAY WITHIN TWO HUNDRED FEET OF A BUILDING WHERE A POLLING PLACE IS LOCATED, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT THE CANDIDATE MAY WEAR A LABEL IDENTIFYING HIMSELF AS A CANDIDATE AND THE OFFICE HE IS SEEKING AND PROVIDE CONDITIONS ON THE WEARING OF THE LABEL.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
Motor Voter law enacted
SECTION 1. Chapter 5, Title 7 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 7-5-310. (A) As used in this article:
(1) `Voter registration agency' means an office designated to perform specific voter registration activities;
(2) `Motor vehicle driver's license' means any personal identification document issued by the Department of Public Safety.
(B) There are designated the following voter registration agencies:
(1) Department of Social Services;
(2) Department of Health and Environmental Control - WIC program;
(3) Department of Disabilities and Special Needs;
(4) Commission for the Blind;
(5) Department of Vocational Rehabilitation;
(6) South Carolina Protection and Advocacy System for the Handicapped;
(7) Armed Forces recruiting offices;
(8) Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services;
(9) Department of Mental Health.
(C) At each voter registration agency, the following services must be made available:
(1) distribution of voter registration application forms in accordance with subsection (F);
(2) assistance to applicants in completing voter registration application forms, unless the applicant refuses the assistance;
(3) acceptance of completed voter registration application forms for transmittal to the county board of voter registration.
(D) If a voter registration agency designated under the provisions of this section provides services to a person with a disability at the person's home, the agency shall provide the services described in subsection (C) at the person's home.
(E) A person who provides services described in subsection (C) may not:
(1) seek to influence an applicant's political preference;
(2) display a political preference or party allegiance;
(3) make any statement to an applicant or take any action, the purpose or effect of which is to discourage the applicant from registering to vote; or
(4) make any statement to an applicant or take any action, the purpose or effect of which is to lead the applicant to believe that a decision to register to vote has any bearing on the availability of services or benefits.
(F) A voter registration agency that is an office that provides service or assistance in addition to conducting voter registration shall:
(1) distribute to each applicant for the service or assistance, and with each recertification, renewal, or change of address form relating to the service or assistance the voter registration application form, including a statement that:
(a) specifies each eligibility requirement (including citizenship);
(b) contains an attestation that the applicant meets the requirement; and
(c) requires the signature of the applicant, under penalty of perjury; or
(2)(a) provide a form that includes:
(i) the question, `If you are not registered to vote where you live now, would you like to apply to register to vote here today?';
(ii) if the agency provides public assistance, the statement, `Applying to register or declining to register to vote will not affect the amount of assistance that you will be provided by this agency.';
(iii) boxes for the applicant to check to indicate whether the applicant would like to register or decline to register to vote (failure to check either box being considered to constitute a declination to register for purposes of subsection (G), together with the statement (in close proximity to the boxes and in prominent type), `IF YOU DO NOT CHECK EITHER BOX, YOU WILL BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE DECIDED NOT TO REGISTER TO VOTE AT THIS TIME.';
(iv) the statement, `If you would like help in filling out the voter registration application form, we will help you. The decision whether to seek or accept help is yours. You may fill out the application form in private.'; and
(v) the statement, `If you believe that someone has interfered with your right to register or decline to register to vote, your privacy in deciding whether to register or in applying to register to vote, you may file a complaint with the State Election Commission.' The name, address, and telephone number of the Executive Director of the State Election Commission must be printed on the form; and
(b) provide to each applicant who does not decline to register to vote the same degree of assistance with regard to the completion of the registration application form as is provided by the office with regard to the completion of its own forms, unless the applicant refuses the assistance.
(G) No information relating to a declination to register to vote in connection with an application made at an office described in subsection (B) may be used for any purpose other than voter registration.
(H)(1) A completed registration application accepted at a voter registration agency must be transmitted to the county board of voter registration not later than ten days after acceptance.
(2) If a registration application is accepted within five days before the last day for registration to vote in an election, the application must be transmitted to the county board of registration not later than five days after the date of acceptance.
Section 7-5-320. (A)(1) Each state motor vehicle driver's license application, including a renewal application, submitted to the Department of Public Safety, Division of Motor Vehicles, serves as an application for voter registration unless the applicant fails to sign the voter registration application. Failure to sign the voter registration portion of the driver's license application serves as a declination to register.
(2) An application for voter registration submitted under item (1) is considered to update any previous voter registration by the applicant.
(B) No information relating to the failure of an applicant for a state motor vehicle driver's license to sign a voter registration application may be used for any purpose other than voter registration.
(C)(1) The Department of Public Safety, Division of Motor Vehicles, shall include a voter registration form as part of an application for a state motor vehicle driver's license.
(2) The voter registration application portion of an application for a state motor vehicle driver's license:
(a) may not require any information that duplicates information required in the driver's license portion of the form, other than a second signature or other information necessary under subitem (c);
(b) may require only the minimum amount of information necessary to:
(i) prevent duplicate voter registrations; and
(ii) enable a county board of voter registration to assess the eligibility of the applicant and to administer voter registration and other parts of the election process;
(c) includes a statement that:
(i) states each eligibility requirement, including citizenship;
(ii) contains an attestation that the applicant meets each requirement; and
(iii) requires the signature of the applicant under penalty of perjury;
(d) includes in print identical to that used in the attestation portion of the application:
(i) the information required in Section 7-5-320(C)(2)(c);
(ii) a statement that, if an applicant declines to register to vote, the fact that the applicant has declined to register will remain confidential and will be used only for voter registration purposes; and
(iii) a statement that, if an applicant does register to vote, the office at which the applicant submits a voter registration application will remain confidential and will be used only for voter registration purposes; and
(e) must be made available, as submitted by the applicant, to the county board of voter registration in which the application is made.
(D) A change of address form submitted in accordance with state law for purposes of a state motor vehicle driver's license serves as notification of change of address for voter registration unless the qualified elector states on the form that the change of address is not for voter registration purposes.
(E)(1) A completed voter registration portion of an application for a state motor vehicle driver's license accepted at a state motor vehicle authority must be transmitted to the county board of voter registration no later than ten days after the date of acceptance.
(2) If a registration application is accepted within five days before the last day for registration to vote in an election, the application must be transmitted to the county board of registration not later than five days after the date of acceptance.
Section 7-5-330. (A) In the case of registration with a motor vehicle application under Section 7-5-320, the valid voter registration form of the applicant must be completed at the Department of Public Safety, Division of Motor Vehicles, no later than thirty days before the date of the election.
(B) In the case of registration by mail under Section 7-5-155, the valid voter registration form of the applicant must be postmarked no later than thirty days before the date of the election.
(C) In the case of registration at a voter registration agency, the valid voter registration form of the applicant must be completed at the voter registration agency no later than thirty days before the date of the election.
(D) In any other case, the valid voter registration form of the applicant must be received by the county board of voter registration no later than thirty days before the date of the election.
(E)(1) The county board of voter registration shall:
(a) send notice to each applicant of the disposition of the application; and
(b) ensure that the identity of the voter registration agency through which a particular voter is registered is not disclosed to the public.
(2) If the notice sent pursuant to the provisions of subitem (a) of this item is returned to the board of voter registration as undeliverable, the elector to whom it was sent must be reported by the board to the State Election Commission. The State Election Commission must place the elector in an inactive status on the master file and may remove this elector upon compliance with the provisions of Section 7-5-330(F).
(F)(1) The State Election Commission may not remove the name of a qualified elector from the official list of eligible voters on the ground that the qualified elector has changed residence unless the qualified elector:
(a) confirms in writing that the qualified elector has changed residence to a place outside the county in which the qualified elector is registered; or
(b)(i) has failed to respond to a notice described in item (2); and
(ii) has not voted or appeared to vote and, if necessary, correct the county board of voter registration's record of the qualified elector's address, in an election during the period beginning on the date of the notice and ending on the day after the date of the second general election that occurs after the date of the notice.
(2) `Notice', as used in this item, means a postage prepaid and preaddressed return card, sent by forwardable mail, on which the qualified elector may state his current address, together with a statement to the following effect:
(a) if the qualified elector did not change his residence, or changed residence but remained in the same county, the qualified elector shall return the card no later than thirty days before the date of the election. If the card is not returned, affirmation or confirmation of the qualified elector's address may be required before the qualified elector is permitted to vote during the period beginning on the date of the notice and ending on the day after the date of the second general election that occurs after the date of the notice, and if the qualified elector does not vote in an election during that period, the qualified elector's name must be removed from the list of eligible voters;
(b) if the qualified elector has changed residence to a place outside the county in which the qualified elector is registered, information as to how the qualified elector can re-register to vote.
(3) The county board of voter registration shall correct an official list of eligible voters in accordance with change of residence information obtained pursuant to the provisions of this subsection.
(4) The program required pursuant to the provisions of subsection (F) of this section must be completed no later than ninety days before the date of a statewide primary or general election.
Section 7-5-340. The State Election Commission shall:
(1) ensure that the name of a qualified elector may not be removed from the official list of eligible voters except:
(a) at the request of the qualified elector;
(b) if the elector is adjudicated mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction; or
(c) as provided under item (2);
(2) conduct a general program that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters by reason of:
(a) the death of the qualified elector; or
(b) a change in the residence of the qualified elector;
(3) inform applicants under Sections 7-5-155, 7-5-310, and 7-5-320 of:
(a) voter eligibility requirements; and
(b) penalties provided by law for submission of a false voter registration application;
(4) complete, no later than ninety days before the date of a statewide primary or general election, a program to systematically remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters in compliance with the provisions of Section 7-5-330(F); this subitem may not be construed to preclude:
(a) the removal of names from official lists of voters on a basis described in items (1) and (2); or
(b) correction of registration records pursuant to this article."
SECTION 2. Section 7-3-20(C) of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"(C) The executive director shall:
(1) maintain a complete master file of all qualified electors by county and by precincts;
(2) delete the name of any elector
(a) who is deceased,
(b) who is no longer qualified to vote in the precinct where currently registered,
(c) who has been convicted of a disqualifying crime,
(d) who is otherwise no longer qualified to vote as may be provided by law, or
(e) who requests in writing that his name be removed;
(3) enter names on the master file as they are reported by the county registration boards;
(4) furnish each county registration board with a master list of all registered voters in the county, together with a copy of all registered voters in each precinct of the county, at least ten days prior to each election. The precinct copies shall be used as the official list of voters;
(5) maintain all information furnished his office relating to the inclusion or deletion of names from the master file for four years;
(6) purchase, lease, or contract for the use of such equipment as may be necessary to properly execute the duties of his office, subject to the approval of the State Election Commission;
(7) secure from the United States courts and federal and state agencies available information as to persons convicted of disqualifying crimes;
(8) obtain information from any other source which may assist him in carrying out the purposes of this section;
(9) perform such other duties relating to elections as may be assigned him by the State Election Commission;
(10) furnish at reasonable price any precinct lists to a qualified elector requesting them; and
(11) serve as the chief state election official responsible for implementing and coordinating the state's responsibilities under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993."
Deletion of names of electors
SECTION 3. Section 7-3-30(b) of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"(b) Each elector whose name has been deleted has twenty days from the date the notice is mailed to appeal. The appeal must be to the county board of registration from whose master file the deletion has been made. If the board determines that the elector's name should not have been deleted, it shall instruct the central registration office to restore his name to the registration books; however, if the deletion is for conviction, the appeal must be to the Executive Director of the State Election Commission."
Registration by mail
SECTION 4. Section 7-5-155(a)(1) of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"(1) Subject to the provision of Section 7-5-150, any qualified citizen may register to vote by mailing or having delivered a completed state registration by mail application form or a completed national registration by mail application form prescribed by the Federal Election Commission not later than thirty days before any election to his registration board. The postmark date of a mailed application is considered the date of mailing. If the postmark date is missing or illegible, the county board of voter registration must accept the application if it is received by mail no later than five days after the close of the registration books before any election."
SECTION 5. Section 7-5-155(c) of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"(c) The State Election Commission shall furnish a sufficient number of application forms to the county boards of voter registration and voter registration agencies specified in Section 7-5-310(B) so that distribution of the application forms may be made to various locations throughout the counties and mailed to persons requesting them.
County boards of registration shall distribute application forms to various locations in their respective counties, including city halls and public libraries, where they must be readily available to the public."
Notification of change of address
SECTION 6. Section 7-5-440 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 7-5-440. (A) A qualified elector who has moved from an address in a precinct to an address in the same precinct shall, notwithstanding failure to notify the county board of voter registration of the change of address prior to the date of an election, be permitted to vote at that precinct's polling place upon oral or written affirmation by the qualified elector of the change of address before an election official at that polling place.
(B) A qualified elector who has moved from an address in one precinct to an address in another precinct within the same county and who has failed to notify the county board of voter registration of the change of address before the date of an election, at the option of the elector:
(1) must be permitted to correct the voting records and vote provisional ballots containing only the races for federal, statewide, and countywide offices pursuant to the provisions of Section 7-13-830 at the elector's former polling place, upon oral or written affirmation by the elector of the new address before an election official at that polling place; or
(2) must be permitted to correct the voting records and vote at a central location located at the main office of the county board of voter registration where a list of eligible voters is maintained, upon written affirmation by the elector of the new address on a standard form provided at the central location.
(C) If the registration records indicate inaccurately that a qualified elector has moved from an address in the precinct, the elector shall be permitted to vote at that polling place, upon oral or written affirmation by the elector before an election official at that polling place that the qualified elector continues to reside at his address.
(D) For voting purposes, in the case of a change of address of a qualified elector to another address within the same county, the county board of voter registration shall correct the voting registration list accordingly, and the elector's name may not be removed from the official list of eligible voters except as provided in Section 7-5-330(F).
(E) At least one member of the county board of voter registration, the clerk, or deputy registrar must be present in the registration board's office at all hours during which the polls are open on every election day for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this section."
Transfer of registration
SECTION 7. Section 7-7-720 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 7-7-720. (A) A person whose registration is transferred to another precinct by virtue of the provisions of this article must be notified by mail by the county board of voter registration of the transfer.
(B) A person whose notification is returned to the board of registration as undeliverable must be reported by the board to the State Election Commission. The State Election Commission must place the elector in an inactive status on the master file and may remove this elector's name from inactive status upon compliance with the provisions of Section 7-5-330(F)."
Electors must be registered
SECTION 8. Section 7-7-910 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 7-7-910. Subject to the provisions of Section 7-7-920 and Section 7-5-440, every elector must be registered and, unless otherwise specified on his voting certificate, shall vote at the designated polling place within the precinct of his residence, but in incorporated municipalities in which officers are elected by wards or other municipal subdivisions, electors must be registered and shall vote at their designated polling places."
Refusal to allow persons to vote
SECTION 9. Section 7-13-810 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 357 of 1990, is further 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 a person to vote who is not a registered elector or who has become disqualified for any cause to vote in the voting precinct. They may also prevent any voter from consuming more than five minutes in voting, but no manager may 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 a voter otherwise than provided in this section. It is the duty of the managers of election to, and any elector or qualified watcher may, challenge the vote of a 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 deposits a paper ballot in a ballot box or casts his vote in 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 an elector or qualified watcher to challenge the vote of a person which is fraudulent or when the challenge is based on evidence discovered after the vote is cast. A candidate may protest an election in which he is a candidate pursuant to Section 7-17-30 when the protest is based in whole or in part on evidence discovered after the election. This evidence may include, but is not limited to, after-discovered evidence of voters who have voted in a precinct or for a district office other than the one in which they are entitled by law to vote."
Political posters, labels, regulation of
SECTION 10. Section 7-25-180 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 393 of 1990, is further amended to read:
"Section 7-25-180. (A) It is unlawful on an election day within two hundred feet of any entrance used by the voters to enter the polling place for a person to distribute any type of campaign literature or place any political posters. The poll manager shall use every reasonable means to keep the area within two hundred feet of any such entrance clear of political literature and displays, and the county and municipal law enforcement officers, upon request of a poll manager, shall remove or cause to be removed any material within two hundred feet of any such entrance distributed or displayed in violation of this section.
(B) A candidate may wear within two hundred feet of the polling place a label no larger than four and one-fourth inches by four and one-fourth inches that contains the candidate's name and the office he is seeking. If the candidate enters the polling place, he may not display any of this identification including, but not limited to, campaign stickers or buttons."
SECTION 11. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
Approved the 21st day of August, 1996.