Early voting turnout breaks records across South Carolina
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - According to the South Carolina Election Commission, over 483,000 early voting ballots and 51,000 absentee ballots were returned by the end of Thursday, bringing the total of ballots cast before election day to over 489,000.
The Election Commission said although early voting was not implemented until May of this year, the early voter turnout for the General Election has quadrupled the number we saw in the June Primaries, with two days of early voting left to report.
At an early voting location in West Ashley, many voters said they chose to vote early because it’s easier and faster. When asked which issues were most important to them, abortion rights and education policies were among some of the most common responses.
“I don’t like the policies that have been put in place, taking power away from the parents. I want to change that, and I want parents to be able to make decisions on what children are allowed to learn in school,” Buck Watkins, an early voter, said.
Some voters appeared to be impassioned about a woman’s right to choose.
“Let’s take a look at what women are going through. You’re saying that they don’t have a choice in their bodies. That’s not true,” Jeffrey Alexander, another early voter, said.
However, everyone, regardless of political ideologies, said the process was quick and painless.
Kendra Stewart, a Professor of Political Science at the College of Charleston, spoke about why she thinks early voting numbers are so high this year.
She said the opening up of early voting has increased accessibility, making it easier and more convenient to vote. She also said issues that people feel are personal to them, like women’s rights, gun control, and educational policies, motivate them to get out cast their ballots.
“These issues in particular are ones that really make people excited, or that make them willing to take time out of their day to try to make a difference,” Stewart said.
The last day for early voting is Saturday. For more information about how to find the polling location closest to you, click here.
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