State election officials said an increase in voters applying to vote absentee prompted a short system delay on Tuesday.
With only a week until the general election, thousands of South Carolina voters have decided to avoid long lines by casting ballots as absentees.
Chris Whitmire, South Carolina State Election Commission's Director of Public Information and Training, said county offices were unable to issue absentee applications from the statewide voter registration system for a short time Tuesday morning.
Whitmire said the system maxed out in Charleston County when the set number of allotted applications was reached. State election officials then shut down the absentee application system to increase the allowed number of applications.
The number was increased so that the delay would not happen again, Whitmire said. While the system was shut down, absentee voters filled out paper applications and were still able to cast ballots as normal. Whitmire said it may have delayed voters statewide by about 15 minutes and those paper applications will have to be reentered into the system.
Henry Laye, the director of elections for Spartanburg County, said his office did not see much of a delay among voters on Tuesday while the system was down. He said it was a good problem to have because it shows there is an influx of absentee voters.
Laye said Spartanburg County is processing about 1,000 absentee ballots a day at the county elections office alone. He said the most people have had to wait is about 20 minutes and during Tuesday's delay, that wait was only increased by about 10 minutes.
The director of elections for Greenville County, Conway Belangia, said absentee voters were faced with longer lines during the application system shutdown. He said when the shutdown happened, it was during the lunchtime rush and they were still working to get the lines down as of about 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
So far this year, the Greenville County elections office has issued approximately 18,000 absentee voter applications, with 9,000 of those cast in person. Belangia said this is on par with the 2008 election year when 20,000 absentee voter applications were cast.
Many Upstate election offices have extended hours to allow for absentee voting. Voters are encouraged to check with the county office to see when they are open.
Absentee voters in South Caroline have until 5 p.m. on Monday to apply and cast their ballot in person.
Absentee applications must be returned by mail no later than 5 p.m. on Friday. Voters may return absentee applications by mail, email, fax or in person. They must be returned to the county election offices by 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, May 17 2013 11:20 PM EDT2013-05-18 03:20:45 GMT
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