Voters still waiting for absentee ballots to arrive

Updated: Oct. 21, 2020 at 11:11 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The presidential election is less than two weeks away, but some are still waiting on their absentee ballots to arrive in the mail. Several people in the Johns Island area have reported their ballots were sent from the elections office, but have not yet arrived.

Margaret Scott is supporting Joe Biden and is still waiting for her ballot.

“My ballot was sent out in the early part of October. It’s been three weeks now,” Scott said. “This year is very important. We have so many issues, especially with COVID-19.”

Just down the road, Morris Jackson and his wife Carrie are voting for President Donald Trump. They have not received their ballots yet either. They called the elections office five times.

“They tell us to wait until Friday, then call again on Monday,” Carrie said, referencing a conversation last week. “They keep putting it off and we don’t have much time left.”

“We are afraid we won’t get to vote at all,” Morris adds. “We want to get it in so we can make sure it gets counted.”

Both sets of voters have been voting absentee by mail for the last couple of years and say they have never had this problem.

Joe Debney is the executive director at the Charleston Board of Elections. He says he has received calls about people in the Johns Island area not receiving ballots. He says the ballots were sent but have not made it through the mail yet.

“The mail has been so messed up,” Scott said. “We have been getting our mail at 7:30-8 o’clock at night. Yesterday, somebody came after the mail came and was checking everyone’s mailboxes. I thought it was the mail person but later on I thought about it again and he may not have been the mail person.”

Scott believes someone is trying to interfere with the mail in ballots.

Debney says there are two options available for anyone who has not received an absentee ballot. They can call the elections office and request an expedited ballot, or they can physical go to one of the early voting polling location and cast a ballot in person.

Debney says if you choose one of those options and your original ballot does arrive simply destroy it. If you send in multiple ballots – whether through the mail or in person - you can be charged with a felony.

Both Scott and the Jacksons say this election is too important to have their voice sidelined.

“If we have to, we will,” said Carrie Jackson on voting in person.

“I know that my voice will be heard because if I have to go and stand in the line, I will do that because I am so determined to vote” Scott said.

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