By Stefanie Bainum
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Why wait until November when you can make your presidential pick right now? The question is, do you qualify?
On Monday, absentee voting started in Charleston County. Absentee voting can either be done by mail or in-person at the precinct at 3691 Leeds Avenue in North Charleston.
You can vote absentee if you fall into one of the 17 reasons to qualify.
They include working on election day, traveling out of town that day, or if you are an elderly, sick or disabled person, and so many more.
All you need to have in order to vote is your ID or voter registration card. You will then be given an absentee application to sign and then it's off to the voting booth.
"Anyone can come vote, I hesitate to say early but it is early, but you have to give one of 17
reasons to vote early," said Charleston County's Director Of Elections Joe Debney. "In Charleston County and South Carolina we don't have what is called early voting we have absentee voting but it is earlier than election day."
The precinct on Leeds Ave. will be open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. until November 5, the day before election day.
"It's very important to exercise your right to vote. We take that very seriously at the Board of Elections so we ask if you are going to do it, don't wait until the last day," said Debney. "Go ahead and do it now because as we get closer to that Nov. 6 election date you are going to have lines here. I am not going to sugar coat it, we will have lines at this precinct so it is better that you make your trip here now."
To find out if you qualify for absentee voting, click here. The qualifications are the same for other counties in the area as well.
Residents of Berkeley County can also head to the polls if they qualify. In-person voting is available at the Berkeley County Voter Registration Office at 6 Belt Drive in Moncks Corner. They are open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Dorchester County Elections Commission website shows the following dates for in-person absentee voting. Please note there are different dates for St. George and Summerville.
Dates: October 8 – November 5
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Location: Voter Registration Office, Kenneth Waggoner Building, 201 Johnston Street, St. George
Dates: October 22 – November 2
Hours of Operation: Monday – Wednesday, 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Thursday – Friday, 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Location: County Council Chamber, 500 North Main Street, Summerville
If you have questions, please call 832-0132 or 563-0132.
Residents of Colleton County can vote at the Voter Registration office located at 115-A Benson Street in Walterboro. Their office is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
If you're registered to vote in Georgetown COunty, you can head over to the Voter Registration office at 303 North Hazard Street in Georgetown. Their offices are open from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. On a couple of Saturdays (Oct 20 and Oct 27) they are also open from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.
*Sandra Ecklund contributed to this report