Supreme Court reinstates South Carolina witness requirement for voting by mail

The Supreme Court on Monday reinstated a rule demanding that South Carolina voters casting ballots via mail obtain a witness's signature as a lawsuit over the rule continues.

Updated: October 7, 2020 - 10:03am

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The Supreme Court on Monday reinstated a rule demanding that South Carolina voters casting ballots via mail obtain a witness's signature as a lawsuit over the requirement continues, siding with Republican arguments.  

The Associated Press reports that some South Carolinians have already begun voting and the court stated that votes made prior to the Monday decision "and received within two days of this order may not be rejected for failing to comply with the witness requirement."

The wire service says that present law mandates those voting by mail must sign the oath shown on the return envelope which includes aspects such as affirming voter eligibility and that the ballot contained belongs to the voter. Another person must witness this oath, writing their signature and address. 

The outlet said that citing coronavirus, Democratic Party groups and some voters contested the requirement and additional portions of South Carolina election law.

The witness requirement has been batted back and forth, getting blocked prior to the June primary, according to AP. U.S. District Court Judge J. Michelle Childs in September put the mandate on hold regarding the upcoming presidential election. A group of three-judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit put the rule back into action but then the whole court placed the requirement on hold.

The nation's high court kicked off a new term on Monday with just eight justices due to the September death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacancy created by Ginsburg's death. If confirmed, Barrett would be the third Trump-appointed justice added to the court.

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