DNC, DCCC, and SCDP Win Major Absentee Ballot Decision In South Carolina
September 19, 2020
Ruling Allows South Carolina Voters To Safely Cast Absentee Ballots in November’s Election
Today, the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and South Carolina Democratic Party announced a major victory in their litigation to ensure South Carolina voters are able to safely cast absentee ballots ahead of November’s election.
The ruling allows South Carolina voters to cast absentee ballots without obtaining a witness signature due to the threat posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The court acknowledged the severity and threat of COVID-19 and credits plaintiff experts’ opinions regarding the dangers associated with the witness signature requirement. The court found that the signature requirement risked disenfranchising South Carolinians observing strict social distancing measures because of their high-risk of COVID-19 related complications.
“Nobody should ever be forced to choose between protecting their health and making their voice heard in our democracy,” Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez said. “This is a crucial, commonsense step toward ensuring a fair and accessible election in South Carolina. This is the most important election in our lifetimes, and we won’t allow overly burdensome requirements to stand in the way of voters exercising their most fundamental democratic rights.”
“As the nation continues to mourn the loss of one of our greatest champions for justice, we can take some solace in Friday’s ruling protecting the voting rights of South Carolinians most at risk from the COVID-19 pandemic,” DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos said. “This ruling is an important step toward ensuring no American is forced to choose between staying safe and participating in our democracy.”
“In a span of twelve to fourteen hours, the individual freedom of women and the importance of voting has crystalized in the minds of South Carolinians,” South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Trav Robertson, Jr. said. “This is a critical victory for the people of South Carolina and will help ensure every person can safely exercise his or her right to vote. Because of this ruling, South Carolinans who are taking important measures to protect themselves from COVID-19 will be able to exercise their right to participate in our democracy and vote. The South Carolina Democratic Party is proud to have been part of this effort.”
This victory is the result of the DCCC and DSCC making a combined investment in voting rights litigation of more than $10 million throughout the 2020 election cycle. It is also the latest Democratic victory for voting rights in South Carolina. In January, the DCCC, SCDP and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee secured a commitment from the state of South Carolina that it would eliminate its unconstitutional requirement that South Carolinians provide their full nine-digit Social Security number in order to register to vote.