Momentum building for early voting in S.C.

Image by Ken Hawkins/TheDigitelImage by 20090203-election-line.jpg Downtown polling line on November 4, 2008: Evidence that we need early voting. -- And we weren't even a battleground state.

There are no fewer than six bills in Columbia that would allow South Carolinians to vote early. But the shear multitude is no guarantee that any of them will be passed and signed in.

Read more stories on this subject in our early voting topic page.If you want to see early voting become a reality, here's a mini-guide on how we can get it.

1. Unite with others to stay informed. Join the South Carolinians for Early Voting Facebook group.

2. Contact Jenny Anderson Horne (R), of Charleston and Dorchester counties. She is our local member of the "Election Laws subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee," where the bills to enable early voting currently reside.

3. Read this e-mail from Robin Biro of the SC Progressive Network.

The SC legislature is about to consider bills that would make voting more accessible and open. More than half the states allow "early voting" or "no excuse" voting before election day now. We don't. But these bills would change that.

Please help build support for early voting legislation by writing or calling your state representative and senator - it takes all of two minutes, but will make a HUGE difference. You can find them by going to and clicking on House and Senate tabs. And please reach out to Democrats you know in other parts of the state, asking them to do the same.

Several early voting bills have been introduced in the House and Senate (see below for numbers). Some key Republicans (most Republicans opposed early voting in the past) have announced support for it. The association of county election boards supports early voting.

You should use your own words in support of the early voting concept, but here are some key elements for an ideal bill:

* early voting centers around each county, bringing voting closer to the voter.
* at least 30 days of early voting (some bills call for 15 days).
* at least one Saturday of early voting, preferably the Saturday before the election.
* early voting for all elections, not just state and federal elections.
* keep absentee voting with an excuse. Some voters (military, overseas travelers, homebound) will not be able to take advantage of early voting.

Both houses of legislature are controlled by Republicans; when you write or call them, remember that early voting helps all voters. Democrats will have to work hard to get our voters out early, but Republicans with more resources can benefit as well. Think about the busy businessman who doesn't have time to go through the cumbersome absentee process, the mother of young children who can't get a sitter on election day, etc.

EARLY VOTING COULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR YEARS TO COME. This is a big one. Please help by writing or calling your legislators NOW, and getting friends and relatives throughout the state to write too. ...