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Early in-person voting begins in Beaufort County

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 6:05 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2021 at 4:11 PM EDT
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BEAUFORT CO., S.C. (WTOC) - Starting Monday, Oct. 4, registered voters can cast their ballot early for the Nov. 2 Election in Beaufort County.

Offices will be open for early in-person voting starting at 9 a.m. If you plan to vote early, you do need to mark one of 17 reasons why you have to vote early. This could be anything from your job, you plan to be on vacation, or you’re over the age of 65.

All you need to do to vote early is bring a photo ID to the election’s office in Bluffton, Beaufort, or Hilton Head Island to get your ballot. They will be open Monday through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Nov. 1.

They will be offering early voting for elections in the town of Bluffton, town of Port Royal, town of Yemassee, and all of Beaufort County for special referendums.

With no statewide races, the Board of Registration and Elections in Beaufort County does not expect a big turnout for early voting, but they still wanted to offer the option to voters.

“It’s important to offer in-person absentees because there are some people who love voting on the voting machines and this is an opportunity for them to do that. They may be going out of town on vacation or they might be at work, there are several reasons why they will choose to come and vote in-person,” said Marie Smalls, Director of Board of Registration and Elections in Beaufort County.

Coming into this period of in-person absentee voting, the general thought at the Beaufort County Board of Elections and Voter Registration was that turnout wouldn’t be in great numbers, and that was the case Monday on the first day, when they only had two voters.

One of those voters at the Beaufort precinct was 82-year-old army veteran James Gilliard.

“Every time there’s an election or an opportunity to vote, I cast my ballot,” said Gilliard.

Gilliard says each opportunity to vote is important, no matter how large the ballot. Especially in a year like this one where he only voted on two county-wide referendums.

“Little things are just as important as big things. Little things turn into big things, it’s like pennies and dollars.”

For Gilliard, it comes down to doing something about his beliefs, rather than just talking about it.

“You have to cast a ballot in order to vote. Speaking about it doesn’t change things, speaking about it doesn’t enforce things so you have the possibility of casting a ballot to ensure how you feel.”

Of course, you can still vote early by mail as well. You will still need to mark one of 17 reasons and your ballot must be received by the elections office by Election Day at 7 p.m.

In Georgia, there will be early in-person voting starting next week. However, Monday, Oct. 4 is the final day to register to vote for the Nov. 2 Election. You can do that online here, but it does need to be completed by the end of the day Monday.

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