High turnout rates during first year of early voting in South Carolina

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 5:56 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2022 at 6:24 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Just six days before the primary election day, Charleston and Berkeley County have some of the highest turnout numbers in the state during the first year of early voting.

In both counties, people were flooding in and out casting their votes by the minute. Hanahan Library is one of three polling locations in Berkeley County that’s seeing a steady increase in voters day by day.

“Berkeley County is getting good percentage coming out early,” Doreen Thompson, one of the polling managers at Hanahan Library, said. “I can’t say overall how the percentage is, but for this area that we’re working right now, we’re getting fairly well.”

Records show that around 3 million people were registered to vote in 2020, but only about 22% of those people voted.

Isaac Cramer, the director of the Charleston County Board of Elections, is one of the main people in charge of making this happen.

“With our equipment and our poll managers and our training and our recruitment, we’re expecting a high turnout,” Cramer said. “Reality will probably be about that 20% number, but we are expecting a high turnout if that happens, so voters don’t have a long wait as they head into the polls.”

As of now, Charleston County has the fourth-highest number of early voters in the state. In 2018, only 1,700 people cast their votes in the first 30 days using in-person absentee voting. This year, the numbers have doubled to 3,600 in the first six days using early voting.

“Our intent with every election is to find access for every voter,” Cramer said. “So, Charleston, we’ve always led the state in ballots casts ahead of election day. We were actually the model for this legislation with the off-site early voting locations, but with the tight window of time between legislation passing and early voting starting, we weren’t able to expand to multiple locations across the county. But in November, we will have seven locations for early voting. So, we do anticipate this county to lead the state in early voting as we have had in the past.”

Cramer says that if you have not voted already, please visit scvotes.gov to find your polling location. He says he wants you to be best prepared on June 14.

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