The big day is finally here.
Tuesday, voters across South Carolina will go to the polls to elect a new president, plus a slew of other federal, state and local offices.
There are some unusual election laws to navigate, so here’s a reminder about some Election Day etiquette.
Take a ballot selfie. You might be so excited about casting your vote that you want to take a picture to show your friends on social media.
But if you do, you’ll be breaking the law.
“State law prohibits anyone from showing their ballot to another person,” according to the S.C. Election Commission. “The use of cameras is not allowed inside the voting booth.”
Laws in 18 states bar taking photos of ballots or in voting booths. The prohibition supposedly is to prevent vote-selling or intimidation.
Write in a presidential vote. With two of the least popular candidates ever to appear on the ballot, you might be tempted to write-in someone else for the nation’s highest office.
But South Carolina doesn’t allow write-in votes for president.
Even as other offices on the ballot show a line for write-ins, a state law adopted in 1982 forbids write-ins for president or vice president, largely because no Electoral College candidates have registered with the state to represent Donald Duck or your mom.
If you can’t bring yourself to vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, there are five third-party candidates listed for president on S.C. ballots.
Take so long to vote! Getting in and out of the voting booth quickly isn’t just considerate of the people waiting behind you. There’s also a legal time limit.
S.C. law says “no voter, while receiving, preparing and casting his ballot, shall occupy a booth or compartment for a longer time than five minutes.” Stragglers in the booth could face up to a $100 fine or a year in prison, according to the law.
So be prepared ahead of time.
You can get a copy of your sample ballot at SCVotes.org ahead of time, and even take a printout to the precinct with you. Poll workers also will be on hand to answer any questions or help with any technical issues. Voters also should bring a photo ID, although you still can vote if you can cite a reason why you don’t have one.
Have a drink (once you’re done). Until 2014, the sale of alcohol on Election Day was illegal in South Carolina.
The ban dates to the 1800s, when officials not only feared drunken voters making poor choices, but worried whiskey could be traded for votes.
But after businesses complained that the ban cost them money – and tax dollars for the state – voters are free to have a drink, hopefully after they have voted.
Take off your campaign hat. You might think it’s a good idea to wear your “Hillary” t-shirt or “Make America Great Again” hat to the polling place, but that’s actually illegal.
“Campaign material” is not allowed inside a polling place, even if you’re wearing it. A Texas man was arrested last month for refusing to take off a “Basket of Deplorables” t-shirt.
So even if you’re excited about your candidate, you should dress down before you head out to vote.
Be patient and kind. If past elections are any guide, you may be waiting in line for a while before you get your chance to vote. If that happens, just remember to take it easy on your fellow voters – even if they are voting for someone else.
Before you get angry at the poll workers, remember they volunteered to work more than 12 hours on a weekday to ensure everyone has a chance to exercise the right to vote. If you think you can do better, feel free to volunteer with your county election board next time.