There is no excuse this year.

Horry County voters have had more time and more options for voting than ever before.

Amid concerns about COVID-19, state lawmakers allowed all voters to cast ballots early for Tuesday’s election.

County officials also helped by opening three satellite locations for early voting in addition to the main elections office in Conway.

Many voters have already taken advantage of these opportunities.

As of Tuesday, nearly 80,000 people had cast absentee ballots in Horry County.

South Carolina election officials said early voting statewide has already surpassed one million.

That’s twice the number of absentee ballots cast in 2016 — the state’s previous record for this type of voting.

We hope state lawmakers take notice and allow early voting for all of the state’s voters in future elections.

Typically absentee voters must meet one of the state’s eligibility requirements (age 65 and older, military service, etc.).

Even local election officials have been singing the praises of early voting.

“It’s 80,000 people we don’t have to deal with on Election Day,” Sandy Martin, the director of the local elections office, said. “It shows you that we need early voting in South Carolina.”

For Martin’s staff, the process has been helpful. “It’ll still be busy [on Tuesday],” she said. “But it won’t be near as busy as it would have been. That’s for sure.”

Unlike some media outlets, we have not traditionally endorsed candidates for public office.

We will not break with that practice this year.

However, we do encourage the county’s 252,311 registered voters to do their civic duty.

Apart from the high-profile races for president and U.S. Senate, there are contested races for this area’s U.S. House seat, not to mention State House seats and a school board post for one district.

Joan Fabiano, one of the local voters we interviewed this month, put it well.

“How can you complain about things being the way they are or are not if you never played a role in trying to change it?” 

We agree.

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