SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH
Columbia, S. C.

OFFICE OF THE STATE DIRECTOR OF MENTAL HEALTH DIRECTIVE NO.798-96
(5-100)

TO:                All Organizational Components

SUBJECT:    National Voter Registration Act 1993

I.        PURPOSE

It is the purpose of this directive to publicize the law requiring SCDMH and certain other state agencies to offer Voter Registration services. This directive also establishes methods of implementation, data reporting, and monitoring procedures required by the National Voters Registration Act of 1993.

II.       POLICY

It is the policy of the Department of Mental Health to actively support and be in full compliance with the National Voters Registration Act of 1993, S.C. State law and to recognize the client's right to engage in the political process and to facilitate voter registration services.

III.     PROCEDURES

A.      Each inpatient facility and outpatient center and satellite will
          designate staff to carry out requirements of the Act and receive
          training by the State Election Commission to provide Voter
          Registration services to clients.

B.      The designated staff person (s) will make voter registration forms
         and certain required information available to clients entering the
          system who desire to register. In the event a client is in crisis to
          such an extent they are unable to make reasonable decisions
          regarding voter registration, documentation that the crisis
          condition precluded voter registration would be made in the
          client's medical record. Registration forms would then be
          offered at such time as the person is no longer in crisis and is
          able to make reasonable decisions regarding voter registration.

C .      The designated staff person (s) will provide assistance in
           completing Voter Registration application forms unless such
           assistance is refused.

D.       The designated staff person (s) will accept and transmit
           completed Voter Registration application forms to the
           County Voter Registration Office within 5 days of acceptance.
E.       A person who provides the services as described above shall
           not --

(1) seek to influence an applicant's political preference or
      party  registration;

(2) display any such political preference or party
      allegiance;

(3) make any statement to an applicant or take any action
      the purpose or effect of which is to discourage the
      applicant from registering to vote; or

(4) take any statement to an applicant or take any action
      the purpose or effect of which is to lead the applicant
      to believe that a decision to register or not to register
      has any bearing on the availability of services or
      benefits.

F.       Declinations to register to vote must be made by the applicant
           in writing on a form supplied by the Election Commission and
           filed in the clients Medical Record.

G.      Complaints regarding Voters Registration must be reported as
           indicated by forms supplied by the Election Commission.

H.      The same degree of assistance in completing forms must be given
           Voters Registration forms as DMH forms. Necessary provisions
           will be made for the blind and hearing impaired.

I .       No information relating to Voters Registration or declination
           thereof may be used for any other purpose.

J.       SCDMH Data Processing will collect data pertaining to the voter
          registration process and will periodically transmit such legally
          permitted data to the State Election Commission in computerized
          form.

This is the first directive on this subject.

                                                                                            morris.GIF (2166 bytes)
                                                                                            John A. Morris, MSW
                                                                                           Interim State Director of Mental Health

July 16, 1996