WATCH: Live 5 Voter Guide gets voters ready for early voting, general election

For more information on early voting and how to find polling locations in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, check out the Live 5 Voter Guide.
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 9:54 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Across the state, polls are open for early voting ahead of the general election on Nov. 8.

Voters do not need an excuse to vote early. Polls are Monday through Saturday for the next two weeks, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. That means voters may cast their ballots through Nov. 5 in local, state and national races.

You can watch the Live 5 Voter Guide on Live 5+, the free streaming app for Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV or Android devices, on Live 5 News.com or in the free Live 5 News app.

The South Carolina Election Commission says voters set a new record Monday for early voting ahead of the Nov. 8 election day. The final number for the first day of early voting was 42,423.

Tri-County elections officials say they are excited and ready. Based on previous elections, they anticipate big crowds for early voting dates.

“In the June primary we blew out every record we had for casting a ballot early in person. Previously we had in-person absentee, and you needed an excuse in Charleston,” Isaac Cramer, the executive director of Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration, said. “We could only have one for the primary and we had over 3,600 voters vote early. That’s six to seven times more than we normally had. But the best indicator is 2020. We had four locations in Charleston County, you had Covid as your reason to vote, so basically you opened it up to everybody. We had 102,000 people cast a ballot early in Charleston County. That is election day type of turnout, and that’s remarkable.”

Final numbers from the state commission show 4,525 voters cast ballots in Charleston County on the first day of early voting in October.

“We have seven locations, they are staffed, they have a lot of equipment, we’re gonna be able to serve a lot of voters in those 12 days of early voting and we’re very excited to do that,” Cramer said.

Dorchester County elections officials say giving people a weekend option will make a huge difference.

“That extra day is a great day for voters to come out and vote on a Saturday. So that’s gonna drive voters to come out and vote early and that’s what we want,” Kizzie Scott said. Scott is the Executive Director for the Voter Registration and Elections Office for Dorchester County.

Final numbers for Dorchester County came in at 1,396, according to state elections officials.

Berkeley County experienced higher than normal turnout during the primary election back in June.

“We are eighth in the state in population as far as registered voters. As far as the turnout, we became number five in the amount of registered voters that did cast their vote early for the primary election and also the runoffs. So this is a good functionality for the voters to use,” Berkeley County Voter Registration & Elections Director Rose Brown said.

The final number for Berkeley County on the first day of early voting in October was 1,656, the State Election Commission said.

Many counties will be voting for school board members as a result of state-mandated redistricting changes. That includes Charleston and Berkeley counties.

State law changes the configuration of the Berkeley County School Board and cuts some of their terms short. Under the law, the school board will change from nine seats to eight seats, with an added at large seat. This would align the school board seats with the Berkeley County Council geographic seats.

Because of the change, elections officials remind voters to pay extra attention to those races, especially if they tend to vote “straight ticket.”

“School board members are nonpartisan, so in order to vote for the candidate of your choice, you will have to make a selection of that candidate,” Brown said. “So if you’re voting straight party that does not vote for any of the school board district members.”