Hours after polls close, final voter casts ballot at Johns Island precinct

Some voters say they waited as long as 4 hours to vote

VIDEO: Hours after polls close, last voter casts ballot at packed precinct

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Shortly before 10 p.m., the last voter in line at St. Johns High School, one of the Lowcountry precincts where voters waited hours in line, cast his ballot.

Election results began coming in shortly after 7 p.m. when polls closed in South Carolina. But state law requires that any voters who are in line when the polls close will have the chance to vote.

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The voter, Brooks McGougan, said he made multiple trips to the polling location, but before 7 p.m., he said he made a resolution.

“I said, ‘I’m going, I’m going to get in line, and get in that door,’” McGougan said. “And then it became a mission.”

He said he waited about three hours to vote.

Some voters reported wait times of between two to four hours at polling places across the Lowcountry. But voters in Charleston and Dorchester Counties have said that despite the wait, they refused to leave because they are so passionate about voting.Voters in some Lowcountry polling places are reporting a long wait to cast their ballots in the 2018 midterm election.

One West Ashley voter said voting is a privilege no matter who a voter chooses.

"I think it's wonderful. My best friends, we disagree totally politically but I'm glad to see them here," Len Ripley said. "This is what makes us who we are."

Voters faced long delays, even paper ballots

In Colleton County, a glitched forced some voters to use paper ballots. Colleton County Board of Elections Director Angela Upchurch said the problem was caused by seasonal workers improperly tagging the personal electronic ballot modules poll workers use to activate voting machines. That caused the wrong devices to go to precincts. Technicians and county voter office staff went around to all locations to switch out the PEBs and the county is now using electronic ballots, Upchurch said.

Colleton County leaders said shortly before 11 p.m. that tabulating results would take a couple of hours because of the paper ballots that would have to be counted.

In Williamsburg County, only three of nine machines were working at Kingstree High School. Several other precincts in the county were reporting machine problems and election officials were working to get machines from other counties. Williamsburg County Board of Voters spokesperson Brenda Woods said paper ballots are being used at every precinct but stressed that voting is underway.

Poll workers at Mitchell Elementary School confirmed that three of the five voting machines at that polling place were not working Tuesday morning. One voter said he waited 90 minutes to cast his ballot. Technicians are in the process of responding to the location to make repairs, poll workers said.

“This never happened before,” one Mitchell Elementary polling place worker said. “Today, it happened.”

By 11:45 a.m., all five machines were working again.

Meanwhile, one voter in Goose Creek reported it took her 45 minutes to vote at Crowfield Baptist Church. Another waited an hour at Stratford High School in Berkeley County. At C.E. Williams Middle School in West Ashley, voters reported a long but moving line.

A long line over an hour was also reported at Fort Dorchester High School. Rumors circulated that voting machines batteries were dead, but the machines are plugged in, so they’re not using batteries to power the machines. All 10 voting machines are working at that location, Dorchester County spokesperson Tiffany Norton said.

Other voters on social media reported lines anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and 30 minutes.

In Williamsburg County, only three of nine machines were working at Kingstree High School and some paper ballots were being used at every precinct.

Charleston County Board of Elections Executive Director Joe Debney said all voting machines are working except for five and there have been no reports of voting machine issues yet to the board. Debney added there have been issues with the laptops that check people in, but that has not stopped people from voting.

First district congressional candidate Joe Cunningham voted just before 10:30 a.m. at St. Andrews School of Math and Science in West Ashley. Katie Arrington is soon scheduled to cast her vote in Summerville. Cunningham’s opponent, Katie Arrington, was spotted in line in Summerville just before 11 a.m.

Speaking of that race, some voters complained that Arrington’s and Cunningham’s names did not appear on that ballot. That’s most likely because the voters' precinct does not include the First Congressional District.

VIDEO: Not seeing some candidates on your ballot? Check your district!

Voters are encouraged to check their district before going to the polls and look for a sample ballot at SCVotes.org so they know going in which races they will help decide.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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