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Why sample ballots in South Carolina didn't list Joe Biden as a presidential candidate

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GREENVILLE, S.C. – Sample ballots for the November general election in South Carolina did not include the Democratic presidential ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris until reporters started asking questions Thursday.

By Thursday afternoon, the South Carolina Democratic Party officially certified Biden and Harris as its presidential ticket. A short time later, their names appeared on the state Election Commission's online sample ballot along with the Republican presidential ticket of Donald Trump and Mike Pence and the presidential candidates for the Alliance, Green and Libertarian parties.

South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Trav Robertson said his party had until Sept. 8 to certify Biden and Harris as its presidential ticket. He was livid that state election officials made sample ballots before that deadline.

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A sample ballot for general election does not include the Democratic presidential ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
A sample ballot for general election does not include the Democratic presidential ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

"The state election commissioners ought to be fired for this," he said. "This is complete malfeasance."

Chris Whitmire, a spokesperson for the state Election Commission, said in an email that sample ballots are prepared up to 100 days before an election to meet requirements for military and overseas citizens who may be voting a blank federal write-in absentee ballot, also known as FWAB. He said sample ballots are updated as candidates are certified.

"The online sample ballot provides voters with information about what their ballot content is at the time they view it," Whitmire said. "Military and overseas voters voting a FWAB need this information to know what their choices are at the time of completing the FWAB.

"While most know the major presidential candidates, the sample ballot, in many cases, is the only way for one of these voters to know about other candidates, local candidates and referendum questions. There is a disclaimer on the cover page that candidates may change at any time and a recommendation that voters check their sample ballot as close to election day as possible."

Whitmire said Trump and Pence were certified as the Republican presidential ticket in South Carolina on Aug. 27.

Follow Kirk Brown on Twitter @KirkBrown_AIM

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Voting: Sample ballots in SC didn't list Joe Biden as a candidate

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