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Fourth Circuit again rules witness signature not required for absentee ballots

Fourth Circuit again rules witness signature not required for absentee ballots


COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a motion seeking an injunction that would have required voters casting absentee ballots to obtain the signature of a witness on their ballot. 

The court of appeals released its decision late Wednesday afternoon. 

The motion for an emergency hearing before the Fourth Circuit seeking an injunction to enforce the witness requirement was granted earlier this week. 

That motion came after a Sept. 25 decision from the full court that upheld the district court's decision to remove the requirement for the 2020 general election due to COVID-19 concerns. 

The full hearing of the court came one day after a three judge panel ruled in favor the state's Republican leaders and the South Carolina Election to require the witness signature on absentee ballots. 

The three-judge panel heard the case after an appeal was filed to the Fourth Circuit from the district court by the state's Republican leaders and the South Carolina Election Commission. 

District Judge Michelle Childs ruled on Sept. 19 that the concerns about potential voter fraud were outweighed by the need of the public to cast their ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic which granted an injunction preventing the enforcement of the witness requirement. 

The suit to remove the witness requirement was filed by the South Carolina Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee after the South Carolina General Assembly took no action on the issue of the witness requirement as it considered changes to the 2020 general election to combat the effects of COVID-19.

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Government and Politics Reporter

I cover the city of Florence, the county of Florence, the state legislative delegation of Florence County and surrounding areas, and the federal delegation representing the Pee Dee for the Morning News.

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