With early voting over, candidates focus on Tuesday’s primaries

Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 5:11 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 12, 2022 at 8:38 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - More than 26,000 voters across the Lowcountry took advantage of the chance to vote ahead of Tuesday’s June primary, the latest statistics show.

The primary marked the first time South Carolina voters could cast ballots under the state’s new 14-day early voting period.

For those who did not vote early, polls will open on Tuesday.

The State Election Commission listed a total of 79,147 early votes cast statewide as of Friday afternoon. That total is less than half of the 171,835 absentee votes cast during the primaries of 2020, which was an election year.

Comparing this year’s primary’s early voting totals against 2018′s midterm primaries, however, shows an increase of almost 38% in votes this year.

State Election Commision Deputy Executive Director Chris Whitmire said those numbers include Thursday’s votes. The total votes cast Friday will be updated by Monday, he said.

Across the Lowcountry, Beaufort County had the highest number early voters. It was second across the state only to Richland County.

Beaufort County6,262
Berkeley County4,221
Charleston County5,188
Colleton County1,037
Dorchester County3,310
Georgetown County2,350
Orangeburg County2,121
Williamsburg County1,569

Earlier this week, Berkeley and Charleston Counties touted some of the highest turnout rates in early voting.

Whitmire said the busiest early-voting day was Thursday, on which nearly 16,000 voted.

If the trend holds, in which the total number of votes has risen day by day, Whitmire said he expects the total early votes cast to reach near 95,000.

Prior to this month’s primary, voters could cast their ballots as “in-person absentee” in a 30-day window.

Gov. Henry McMaster signed a new election law in time for the June Primary that requires two weeks of in-person early voting before Election Day, every day except Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Unlike past in-person absentee voting, voters were not required to provide a reason or an excuse to vote early in person.

Polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday

Those who will vote on the actual day of the primary can go to their local polling place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Those who are in line by 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote, Whitmire said.

Voters can check their sample ballot and find their polling place at before leaving to vote.

Voters must bring a photo ID to cast a ballot.

Those who have an absentee ballot must return it to the county voter registration office no later than 7 p.m. Tuesday for it to count, Whitmire said. The voter’s oath must be signed and the return envelope witnessed before returning the ballot. The witness must provide an address.

“Instead of mailing your ballot, consider personally delivering your ballot to ensure it arrives on time,” Whitmire said.

Voters can have an authorized returnee return their ballot for them, but must complete an authorized returnee form. A photo ID is required when returning the absentee ballot in person.

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