Take time now to be an ‘educated voter’

By: 

Even though the November 8 General Election is still a few weeks away, now is the time to do a little homework before heading to the polls.

The S.C. Election Commission provides a plethora of free information on its website, so please utilize this resource. Go to www.scvotes.org and download your personal ballot. Not only does it let you know who the candidates are for various local, state and national offices, but it also explains the 1 percent capital sales tax referendum. A copy of the referendum can also be found on page 5A of this week’s edition in a public notice.

Being an “educated voter” is important.

This election will not only decide our country’s next president, but there are seats for state and national congressional seats as well as several Barnwell County government offices. While most of the local races have no opposition, two people are vying to be Barnwell County’s sheriff, including incumbent Ed Carroll (Republican) who has served since 2005 and challenger Willie Walker (Democrat).

While we will have profiles on these candidates in an upcoming edition, we hope you will do your own research to decide who best fits your values and beliefs. If you get the chance, take some time to talk to the candidates and get to know them.

Barnwell County voters will also decide whether or not a proposed 1 percent capital projects sales tax will be imposed for eight years. The tax would generate an estimated $13.9 million to fund capital improvement projects throughout the county, including repairs to our historic courthouse, construction of a new public safety building to house the City of Barnwell’s police and fire departments, a splash park and playground equipment at Fuller Park, water line improvements in Williston and other municipalities, cleanup of dilapidated buildings in Blackville, and a farmer’s market building in Elko, to name a few.

Unfortunately, if you have not registered to vote, it is too late. The deadline expired earlier this month.

If you are a registered voter, the S.C. Election Commission has a few simple steps they recommend you take now:

• Check your registration at scvotes.org - Make sure your registration is active and your address is up to date.

• Update your address - You can update your address using online voter registration.

• Review your sample ballot - Review your sample ballot at scvotes.org so you are ready to vote once you get to the booth

• Make sure you bring proper ID

Here’s what voters need to know about Photo ID:

• If you are registered to vote and already have a driver’s license, a DMV ID, a passport, or a federal military ID, you are ready to vote. Be sure to bring your Photo ID with you to the polls.

• If you don’t have one of those photo IDs, you can help streamline your voting process by getting one before election day. You can get a free Photo ID from your county elections office or any DMV location.

• If you can’t get a Photo ID before election day, be sure to bring your non-photo voter registration card with you to the polls. This will allow you to sign an affidavit stating you had an impediment to obtaining a Photo ID. You can then vote a provisional ballot that will count, unless your affidavit is proven to be false.

If you will be unable to vote on Nov. 8 and meet the criteria for absentee voting, please go ahead and request an application. This can be done at www.scvotes.org or directly from your county’s voter registration office. The Barnwell County Voter Registration & Elections Office, which is located at 367 Fuldner Road, Barnwell, can be reached at (803) 541-1060.

Applications must be returned via mail, email, fax or personal delivery no later than 5 p.m. on the fourth day prior to the election, which is Friday, Oct. 4 for this election.

The voter registration office will then process your application and send you a ballot. Ballots must be returned by mail or in person by 7 p.m. on the day of election – Tuesday, Nov. 8. You can also cast your absentee ballot in person at the county voter registration office up until 5 p.m. the day before the election.