SC Primary frequent questions answered

Q. What is a Presidential Preference Primary (PPP)?

A. A PPP, commonly referred to simply as a “Presidential Primary,” is a publicly held election in which voters vote for their choice to be a particular party’s nominee for President. State political parties use the results of the PPP to assign state delegates to the national party convention.  At the national convention, delegates from all participating states choose the party’s nominee. The party’s nominee goes on the General Election ballot in November.

Q. Do I have to be a registered member of a party to participate in a Presidential Primary?

A. No, S.C. does not have registration by party.

Q. Why are the Presidential Primaries on two separate dates? Why are they being held on Saturdays?

A. State law allows the political parties to set the dates of their Presidential Primaries.

Q. Can I vote in both the Republican and Democratic Presidential Primaries?

A. No. You can vote in either primary, but you can’t vote in both.

Q. If I vote in one party’s Presidential Primary, do I have to vote in that party’s State Primary in June?

A. No

Q. Why does my ballot have a district number beside the office of President?

A. Political parties require reporting of Presidential Primary results by Congressional District. The parties use these results as part of a formula for assigning delegates.

Q. What candidates and/or offices are on the ballot today?

A. The only candidates on a Presidential Primary ballot are those candidates seeking that party’s nomination for President.

Q. Where do I vote?

A. To find your polling place, visit and click “Find My Polling Place” in the top right corner of the page.

Q. Why does my ballot still show candidates that have “suspended” their campaigns? And, what happens to votes cast for those candidates?

A. Candidates who “suspend” their campaigns nationally may also withdraw from contention in the S.C. Presidential Primary. If so, the state political party notifies the SEC. Candidates who withdraw early in the ballot creation process can be removed from the ballot, but those who withdraw after absentee voting is underway cannot be removed from ballots.

Q. What hours will the polls be open?

A. Polling places are open 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Anyone in line at 7:00 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Q. Who conducts the S.C. Presidential Primaries?

A. State and county election officials. Unlike Presidential Primaries in other states where political parties conduct primaries by their own rules, sometimes using paper ballots, South Carolina’s Presidential Primaries are conducted by election professionals at public polling places using electronic voting machines.

Q. What do I need to take with me to the polls to vote?

A. At your polling place, you will be asked to show one of the following Photo ID’s:

  • S.C. Driver’s license
  • ID card issued by the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles
  • S.C. Voter Registration Card with Photo
  • Federal Military ID
  • US Passport

Q. What if I don’t have one of these Photo ID’s?

A. If you are already registered to vote, you can go to your county voter registration and elections office, provide your date of birth and the last four digits of your Social Security Number, and have your photo taken. You can do this even on Election Day. Free DMV ID Cards are also available from the Department of Motor Vehicles.


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