The days are fast dwindling to register to vote in the Nov. 6 general election. You have until Saturday to get it done.
If the passion and increasing volume of letters to the editor are any indication, many of you care deeply about how this presidential election turns out. The best way to make a difference in the outcome is to vote, but first you have to register.
Registering even at this late date isn't hard to do. You can do it online at scvotes.org if you have a valid South Carolina driver's license or state-issued ID. You can go to the county elections office at 15 John Galt Road in Beaufort from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; or to the Bluffton Recreation Center at 61B Ulmer Road in Bluffton from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 2:30 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The Beaufort office also will be open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.
Unfortunately for Hilton Head Island residents, absentee voting and voter registration are no longer offered by the Town of Hilton Head Island, so a trip to Beaufort or Bluffton is in order for those who want to register in person.
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You can download forms at the state's voter website, scvotes.org. The forms can be brought to the county elections office or emailed, faxed or mailed to the county office. Go to www.bcgov.net/departments/Community-Services/voter-registration-and-elec... for contact information and directions. You can also check the status of your registration at the state website.
The county and state websites also have information about applying for and casting an absentee ballot, including the list of legal reasons for doing so. You can request an application for an absentee ballot online now at the county website. And you can see the list of candidates, local ballot questions and the statewide constitutional amendment on electing the lieutenant governor and governor on the same ticket.
On Nov. 6, we expect to see a return of the 2008 election's long lines. Turnout for the 2008 presidential election hit 76 percent, according to the state Election Commission. That was up from 71 percent in 2004 and 65 percent in 2000.
And there are more registered voters today. As of Monday, 105,120 people were registered to vote in Beaufort County, according to the state website. That's up from 90,894 in 2008 and 96,262 in 2010.
The more prepared you are, the smoother the process will be.