Attorney General Alan Wilson Takes Action to Protect Voting Rights in South Carolina in the Wake of Hurricane Florence

Staff Report From South Carolina CEO

Monday, October 1st, 2018

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has taken action to protect voting rights in South Carolina during historic flooding by asking the courts to extend the deadline to register to vote.

Right now, in order to vote in the 2018 General Election, you must be registered to vote before Sunday, October 7th. But thousands of South Carolina voters in the northeastern part of the state have been driven from their homes by the flooding from Hurricane Florence. Some counties’ voter registration offices are closed because of the flooding and hundreds of roads are closed, so even if would-be voters could get to a voter registration office they couldn’t register.

Therefore, Attorney General Wilson filed a lawsuit that was officially accepted Thursday evening in the Richland County Court of Common Pleas against State Election Commission Director Marci Andino asking the Court to extend the voter registration deadline to October 17th.

“The right to vote is fundamental. To protect this right to the extent possible in the wake of a major hurricane causing unparalleled flooding, the Executive Director must be directed to set a voter registration of October 17th,” Attorney General Wilson said in the complaint.

A court’s ruling is needed because state law requires someone to be registered to vote at least 30 days before the date of an election. The General Election will be held November 6th.

The State Election Commission has been contacted by several groups and one county board on behalf of voters who are worried about the impact of Hurricane Florence and ongoing flooding on many South Carolina residents’ ability to register to vote.

The Attorney General’s complaint asks the Court to issue an order setting the voter registration deadline as October 17th for both in-person registration and by mail and to direct the executive director of the State Election Commission to do whatever is necessary to make sure that deadline is implemented. The extension would apply statewide because the South Carolina Constitution requires voting laws to be uniform across the state.