Charleston Co. sees more than 34K absentee voters in one week after new locations open

Updated: Oct. 24, 2020 at 7:26 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - More than 34,000 people showed up at Charleston County polls after three new locations opened earlier this week.

“I think there’s a lot of energy, a lot of interest,” Charleston county deputy director of elections Joshua Dickard said. “I think we are seeing a higher turnout earlier partly due to COVID-19 but also we see just the interest.”

Saturday was the first weekend day open for in-person absentee voting at all four locations; North Charleston Coliseum, Mount Pleasant Seacoast Church, West Ashley Seacoast Church and the downtown Charleston public library.

“It was by far the most voting day we’ve had on a Saturday of any historical election for a president and that is a testament of what’s going on with absentee voting right now,” board of elections project director Isaac Cramer said. “We will only expect that to go higher next week. This could be a record-breaking election on all fronts for anyone voting early.”

Dickard oversaw the West Ashley polling location Saturday morning where around 1,000 people cast their ballots in just four hours. He said the increased demand among voters has led to procedure changes at the polls to keep lines moving, and surrounding businesses open.

“We are having to shift the way we do traffic. We are having to shift the way we do the line every so often,” Dickard said. “We are working with businesses, obviously we have a lot of businesses around here so we’re working with them not to impede on their business.”

Cramer said he hopes state leaders consider keeping early voting access for everyone in elections to come, not just during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I really hope the state legislature will look at this to expand absentee voting for all voters and that is something we can do for a future elections,” Cramer said. “It’s just going to make that better more efficient and I think a lot of voters are really loving it in Charleston County.”

Polling locations will be open next week from Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. and on Saturday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

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