Very low voter turnout reported in tri-county

In what one poll watcher described as "miserably low," the turnout for primary votes in various places in Charleston County was sparse. Isle of Palms precincts 1B and 1C voting at the city recreation complex had 50 voters combined at around noon. ( Leroy Burnell/postandcourier.com 6/12/2012). Buy this photo

Very low turnout of 5 percent of registered voters or less was reported this afternoon at polls in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties Tuesday.

“That’s what I’m hearing pretty much across the county. It’s been a very slow day,” said Joe Debney, director for Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration.

Things were so sleepy at the Mount Pleasant Town Hall voting place, the town gym, that poll manager John Hughes joked about starting a pick-up basketball game to pass the time.

“They left the baskets down but they didn’t leave us a ball,” he lamented.

His wife, poll manager Carole Hughes, had another idea.

“Maybe we’ll dance a jig,” she said.

Mount Pleasant resident Yvonne Jordan was among the voters who trickled into the gym to cast a ballot. Some 4 percent of registered voters were showing up there.

“I just feel like it’s my duty. It’s a privilege and a duty,” she said.

At the National Guard Armory in Mount Pleasant, the same voter apathy was reported with a 4 percent turnout at mid-afternoon.

“This is probably the slowest election I’ve worked,” said Karen Winkler, a poll manager.

By mid-day at the Ashborough West poll in the Oakbrook community near Summerville, voters were coming in one or two at a time if at all. Nobody was at the door when the traditionally early voting precinct opened, and it was 15 minutes before a single voter showed up.

The Dorchester County sheriff race was on the Republican ballot, along with the S.C. Senate 41 race, but nothing else. The printed paper sign hung from the voting screen informing people that a vote for ineligible Senate 41 candidates Wally Burbage or Sean Pike wouldn’t count, leaving only Paul Thurmond in the race. Poll workers said the turnout, some 5 percent of the registered voters, was as low as they had ever seen it.

“It’s been really slow,” said Joshua Dickard, Dorchester County elections director.

In Berkeley County, voter turnout of less than 2 percent was reported in some precincts, said elections director Wanda Farley.

“It’s not been much at all,” she said.

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