S.C. state Senate supports election bill with increased early voting, voter ID for absentee, audits

The bill is likely to be approved by the state Senate on Thursday.

Updated: April 21, 2022 - 1:59pm

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The South Carolina state Senate has unanimously approved a bill to expand early voting and require voter ID for absentee ballots.

However, the measure faces an uncertain future, considering it came from the House, which members and GOP Gov. Henry McMaster now oppose because the Senate added a provision to give the chamber the power to confirm the governor's choices for the South Carolina Election Commission.

The bill also allows for two weeks of no-excuse early voting, compared to now when voters need a reason to vote early.

It also establishes "methods of auditing election results, which may include risk-limiting audits, hand-count audits, results verification through independent third-party vendors that specialize in election auditing, ballot reconciliation, or any other method deemed appropriate by the executive director."

The bill would make voter fraud a felony, increasing both fines and possible jail time for breaking the law.

The Senate provision gives the chamber the power to confirm the governor's choices for the director and the five members of the board of the commission, according to the Associated Press

After the Senate's routine final approval on Thursday and the bill's return to the House, it will likely go to a joint conference committee for the two chambers to work on a compromise.

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