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Election Day countdown | Q&A for voters in Horry, Georgetown counties

No matter which candidate or position voters take in the races and issues on Tuesday’s ballot, they all share one common denominator: a responsibility to exercise their right to vote and take a stand on the future of the country and the region.

The court battles of the S.C. Voter ID law, along with confusion over candidate filings for the S.C. primary in June, left confusion in their wake. Here is how they will – or won’t – affect Tuesday’s voting.

The Voter ID law | Although the court upheld elements of the new law, it doesn’t go into effect until Jan. 1 2013, which means you need to take the same identification you always have to the polls: one of these three items – a valid S.C. voter registration card, an S.C. driver’s license or a S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles identification card.

Petition candidates and the straight party ticket | Candidates who were tossed from the ballot because they didn’t file proper paperwork for the primary were able to get on the November ballot by obtaining enough signatures to be petition candidates. And while many of those candidates’ campaigns noted their party affiliations, those party affiliations don’t appear on the ballot. That means if you vote a straight party ticket, you will not be able to cast ballots for the petition candidates. To vote for any of them you must cast ballots in each individual race.

County election contacts | Horry County, 1515 4th Ave., Conway, 915-5440; Georgetown County, 303 North Hazard St., Georgetown, 545-3339

In addition to the above issues, the S.C. Election Commission also produced these responses to some of the issues that may puzzle voters on Election Day.

Myth | South Carolina has “early voting,” meaning anyone can vote early for any reason.

Truth | South Carolina has “absentee voting.” You must meet one of 15 reasons for voting absentee. To vote absentee in person, visit your county voter registration and election office. [If you have not already cast your absentee ballot by mail, you can still visit your county voter registration office by 5 p.m. Monday, complete an application and vote.]

Myth | Straight party voting does not apply to President. You must vote for President first before voting straight party, or your vote for President won’t count.

Truth | Straight party voting applies to President and all other partisan offices on the ballot. It is not necessary to select President first. It will be very clear on the voting machine when your choice for President is selected. The names will be checked and highlighted. You can also verify your selection on the review screen at the end of your ballot.

Myth | Absentee votes don’t count unless the election is really close.

Truth | Every vote matters, and every vote counts. Absentee ballots are usually the first votes counted on Election Day.

Myth | If you go to the polls wearing a T-shirt supporting your candidate, you won’t be allowed to vote.

Truth | It is true that the display of campaign material is not allowed within 200 feet of any entrance to a polling place on Election Day. This law applies to posters, pamphlets, brochures, signs, buttons, hats, T-shirts, etc. Voters with campaign material will not be turned away, but will be asked to remove the material, cover the material, or otherwise cause the material not to be seen before being allowed to vote.

Myth | Due to so many people voting and long lines, the election is being extended until Wednesday.

Truth | There are no Election Day extensions. Election Day is Nov. 6, 2012. Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you are in line at 7 p.m., you will be allowed to vote.

Myth | I can’t vote because I’m disabled and need assistance.

Truth | Voters with disabilities and voters who are unable to read or write may vote and may request assistance in the voting booth. If you need assistance in marking your ballot, ask the poll manager. You can choose the person you want to assist you as long as they are not your employer or officer of your union or an agent of your employer or union.

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