Thinking of voting absentee before Tuesday's Hilton Head Island mayoral runoff?
It's best to do so in person, an election official said.
The Beaufort County Board of Elections and Registration still hasn't created ballots for the runoff. The office is waiting for a computer database it needs from the state, elections director Marie Smalls said.
That means the office will not mail absentee ballots until Thursday or Friday, giving voters little time to return them before the election.
"If voters want to vote by mail, that's fine, but there will be a small window," she said.
Instead, absentee voters should cast ballots at the elections offices in Beaufort at 15 John Galt Road or in Bluffton at 61-B Ulmer Road, she said. The office is using printed ballots from the Nov. 4 election until it makes ballots for the runoff. As of Wednesday, about 25 residents had voted absentee or requested a ballot by mail, Smalls said.
Attempts Wednesday to reach S.C. State Elections Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire were unsuccessful.
Earlier this week, Whitmire said the state gives counties a database for each election. Ballots can't be created without that database.
He also acknowledged that the two-week turnaround time between an election and a runoff is not ideal for absentee voters.
"It's state law ... but it's tough," he said. "If you want to vote absentee, you don't have much time to do it."
The runoff pits incumbent Drew Laughlin against challenger David Bennett.
Both campaigns said it was frustrating that absentee voters had such a short time to cast ballots, but neither thought it would greatly affect the race.
Absentee voting will be available at both offices from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each weekday until Tuesday's runoff.
State law requires voters to present photo identification at the polls.
Mailed ballots must be received by 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Beaufort elections office.
To request a ballot or learn more, go to scVotes.org or call the elections office at 843-255-6900.
Follow reporter Dan Burley on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Dan.