If the absentee voting activity in South Carolina and in Kershaw County are any indication at all, today’s mid-term election might see significantly higher than usual turnout numbers.
“I think we’re well ahead of where we were in 2016, John Caughman, manager of the Kershaw County Office of Voter Registration recently said. “It got busier than it normally does. We’re really hoping for a strong turnout.”
According to Chris Whitmire of the S.C. Election Commission, as of Friday, more than 260,000 absentee ballots had been issued statewide, with more than 230,000 absentee ballots returned. By contrast, during the 2014 General Election, the last midterm, about 157,000 absentee ballots were cast, which was the previous record for absentee voting in a midterm election.
As of Monday, some 3,693 absentee ballots had been issued in Kershaw County, according to information on the S.C. Election Commission website (scVOTES.org).
Absentee numbers will continue to increase as voters will have additional opportunities to vote absentee in person on Saturday and Monday before the General Election on Tuesday, Whitmire stated in a press release issued Monday.
Polls open today at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. However, voters who are in line waiting to vote by 7 p.m. will not be turned away.
Voters should bring a photo I.D. to their polling place. However, those who forget to bring a photo I.D. can vote on a provisional ballot. That ballot will only be counted if the voter shows a photo I.D. prior to certification.
All 34 polling places in Kershaw County are open today. Those who vote in the Lugoff 1 precinct, which is normally located at Lugoff Middle School, are reminded to vote today at the Lugoff Elgin High School annex instead. There are no other changes in locations to polling places.
In local elections, the only contested election is the race for Kershaw County Sheriff, with Republican Lee Boan running against Democrat Anthony Bell. Other county offices that are on the ballot with only one candidate include Probate Judge Debbie Branham; Coroner David West; Auditor Dennis Arledge; Treasurer Jill Catoe; Kershaw County Council Chairman Julian Burns; and Kershaw County Council Districts 4, 5 and 6 with Jimmy Jones, David Snodgrass and Tom Gardner, respectively.
In addition, all school board races have one candidate on the ballot in each race. They are Mark Sury, Shirley L. Halley, Kimberly Horton Durant and Donald Copley for Districts 2, 4, 6 and 8, respectively.
Daniel Lovatt and Ed Estridge are running for two seats, non-partisan, for the soil and Water District; Roy Croxton Jr. is on the ballot for the Watershed Conservation District; and Scott Jacobs is on the Lugoff Fire District Commission ballot. All of these races are non-partisan.
At the state level, Rep. Laurie Funderburk, the incumbent Democratic candidate, is running against challenger Republican Penry Gustafson for S.C. House of Representatives District 52.
Another contested race is the S.C. 5th Circuit Solicitor’s race, which pits Democrat Bryon Gipson against petition candidate John Meadors, a former 5th Circuit assistant solicitor.
Other state races include governor/running mate – Republicans Henry McMaster (Incumbent), Amela Evette against Democrats James Smith, Mandy Powers Norrell; Secretary of State – Republican Mark Hammond (Incumbent) v. Democrat Melvin T. Whittenburg; Treasurer – Republican Curtis Loftis (Incumbent) against Democrat Rosalyn L. Glenn and American Party candidate Sarah Work; Attorney General – Republican Incumbent Alan Wilson v. Democratic party challenger Constance Anastapoulo; Comptroller General – Richard Eckstrom; Superinetendent of Education – Republican Molly Spearman (Incumbent) v. Democrat Israel Romero; and Commissioner of Agriculture – Republican incumbent Hugh Weathers against United Citizens Party candidate Chris Netums, Green Party David Edmond.
To find out where individual polling places are located or which one a voter might be in, go to the scVOTES.org website.
For more information call the Kershaw County Office of Voter Registration at (803) 424-4016, visit the website at www.kershaw.sc.gov/government/get/voter-registration, or go to the scVOTES.org website.