2012 General Election FAQs

Pickens County voters go to the polls on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.  Below are some of  the most frequently asked questions regarding general elections:

Q.  What candidates and/or offices are on the ballot?

A.    The candidates and offices on a particular ballot will differ depending on the precinct and districts in which you reside.  To find out what candidates will appear on ballots in your precinct, please click here.

Q.   Where do I vote?

A.    At the polling place for your assigned precinct.  Your precinct and polling place are listed on your new voter registration card.  To ensure your polling place hasn’t changed since your card was issued, check your voter registration by clicking here.  You may also call the Pickens County Registration & Elections Commission at 864-898-5948 or 864-898-5949.

Q.  What hours will the polls be open?

A.  Polling places are open 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Anyone in line at 7:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Q.   What do I need to take with me to the polls to vote?

A.  You will be required to show any one of the following items to vote:

  • Your Pickens County Voter Registration Card*
  • Your Valid SC Driver’s license
  • Your Valid ID Card issued by the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles

*If you are voting for the first time since registering, and did not include identification with your application; you will not be allowed to vote with only your voter registration card.  You must complete the voter registration process by providing one of the following IDs:  Either a valid photo ID such as a driver’s license or DMV-issued ID card; or a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or other government document that shows your name and address in this county.

Q.   I’ve lost my voter registration card.  Can I still vote?

A.    Yes.  Voters may also vote with their driver’s license or a DMV issued ID card.  Voters may also get a replacement card from the Pickens County Registration & Elections Commission.

Q.  How does straight party voting work?

A.  Whether to vote “Straight Party” is the first choice a voter must make on a General Election ballot.  Voting straight party is optional.  Each political party that has nominated a candidate appearing on the voter’s ballot is represented in the straight party selection area.  If a party is selected under straight party, every candidate of that party is automatically selected.  The voter then has the option of changing their vote for any particular office (also known as “crossover voting”) simply by touching the candidate of choice for that office.  Voters should also be aware that when voting straight party no selection is made for nonpartisan offices and questions.  These contests must be voted individually.  As always, voters should carefully review their choices on the review screen before casting their ballot.

Q.   I’ve moved since the last election and haven’t updated my voter registration card.  Can I still vote?

A.    If the voter moved to…

1.  …another residence within his precinct, he can vote at his polling place but must first fill out a change of address form.

2.  …a different precinct within this county, he is eligible vote a failsafe ballot.

3.  …another residence in another county within 30 days of the November 6, 2012 General Election, he is eligible to vote a failsafe ballot.

4.  …another residence in another county prior to 30 days before the November 6, 2012 General Election, he is not eligible to vote.

Two Options for Voting Failsafe:

1.  The voter may vote at the polling place in his previous precinct using a paper failsafe ballot.  This ballot will contain only countywide offices (like the President/VP, US House of Representatives, Sheriff, Auditor, Clerk of Court, Coroner, Treasurer, Soil and Water Commissioner, and the Constitutional Amendment Question).  This ballot will not contain State Senate, State House of Representatives, County Council, School Board, or Watersheds.

2.  The voter may go to the voter registration office in the county in which he currently resides, change his address, and vote a full ballot there on their machines.

Q.   I saw a candidate/member of candidate’s campaign at my polling place talking to voters.  Can he do that?

A.    Yes, but there are restrictions:

-Inside the polling place:  No campaigning is allowed.  Candidates may be inside the polling place and talk to voters as long as they are not campaigning, intimidating voters, or interfering with the election process.

-Within 200 feet of an entrance to a polling place:  Candidates and campaign staff may campaign as long as they are not intimidating voters or interfering with the election process.  However, no campaign literature, signs, or posters are allowed.  Candidates are allowed to wear a badge no larger than 4.25″ x 4.25″ featuring only the candidate’s name and office sought.  Candidates must remove their badge upon entering a polling place.

-Outside 200 feet of an entrance to a polling place:  does not fall under the jurisdiction of the poll clerk or election officials.

Q.   A candidate is definitely campaigning while inside the polling place, or there is campaign literature within 200 feet of the entrance to the polling place.  What can I do?

A.    Inform the poll clerk immediately.  If the issue is not resolved, contact the county election commission and inform them of the situation.  The election commission will address the complaint.

Q.   Can candidates or their representatives take people to the polls to vote?

A.    Yes.

Q.  When and where will results be reported?

A.    Unofficial results will be reported by the Pickens County Registration & Elections Commission on election night at PickensElections.org.  Results will be updated several times election night, as the precincts report in.  You can also view the unofficial results live as they come in the Auditorium in the Pickens County Administration Facility. The Auditorium will be open beginning at 7:00pm election evening. No campaign literature is allowed inside or within 200ft of the Administration Facility (this includes bumper stickers, signs, t-shirts, buttons, etc.).

Q.   When is a recount necessary?

A.    When the difference between any candidate declared nominated and any other candidate not declared nominated is 1% or less of the total votes cast for all candidates for that office, a recount is mandatory.

Q.   How are winners determined?

A. For all county and state offices on the ballot this year, winners are determined by plurality.  Meaning the person with the most votes (even if just by one) wins.  A runoff election shall only occur in the event of a tie.  All election results are unofficial and subject to correction until certified.

Q.   Do employers have to give you time off to vote?

A.    No.  There is no state or federal law mandating that employers must give time off to employees to cast their vote.  Voters who know they will not be able to visit the polls on Election Day should apply to vote absentee before the day of the election.

Q.   Can alcoholic beverages be sold on Election Day?

A.    Yes, but not in liquor stores.  State law prohibits retail liquor sales on the day of the General Election.  For more information contact the S.C. Department of Revenue, (803) 898-5864.

Q.  Can lottery tickets be sold on Election Day?

A.  No. State law prohibits the sale and validation of lottery tickets on Election Day.  For more information, contact the S.C. Education Lottery at (803) 737-2002.

Q.   Are there any laws about candidates posting their signs along the roadway?

A.    Yes, there are several state laws addressing political signs on roadways, as well as county and municipal ordinances.  See S.C. Code of Laws Sections 57-25-10, 57-25-140, and 7-25-210.  Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the entity that maintains the road (state, county, or municipality) to enforce applicable sign laws.  See this page for more information.

Q.   When I left the polls, I was asked to participate in an “exit poll.”  Is this legal?

A.    Exit polls are legal and participation is voluntary.  They are NOT conducted by the State Election Commission or the Pickens County Registration & Elections Commission.  Generally, polls may not be conducted inside the polling place, and we ask that voters not be approached before they have voted.  If a voter feels threatened or intimidated by a pollster, it should be reported immediately to the precinct’s poll clerk.

Q.  Where can I file a complaint about the election?

A.    Any complaints regarding the election can be addressed to our office.  You can reach us at 864-898-5948 or 864-898-5949.  You may also send an email to the Director at [email protected].