Election turnout described as light in three-county area
Election turnout was so light Tuesday, poll workers were left with lots of idle time to fill.
Dorchester County: 12 percent of 84,098 voters
Charleston County: 3 percent of 236,287 voters
Berkeley County: 1.5 percent of 101,164 voters (20 of 22 precincts reporting)
Turnout varied from only 1.5 percent of Berkeley County registered voters to 12 percent in Dorchester County. In Charleston County, 3 percent of registered voters participated in the election.
“It’s been a very slow day,” said Joe Debney, elections director for Charleston County.
Debney said the election cost the county more than $100,000.
John Hughes, a poll manager in Mount Pleasant, sat at a table with three other poll workers waiting for a voter in an empty town basketball gymnasium.
“They left the baskets down, but they didn’t leave us a ball. I guess we could have a pickup game,” he said.
The numbers, however, were somewhat deceiving. In Berkeley County, there was a single County Council race and only parts of the Senate District 32 and 38 races. Charleston County had just one countywide contest, for auditor, and a House race.
Dorchester County voters had more races and the best turnout, by far. Still, it could have been better. “It’s been really slow,” county elections chief Joshua Dickard said during the day,
Redistricting caused some confusion in Dorchester County where a Ridgeville precinct was split in two along either side of S.C. Highway 27, surprising neighbors who found themselves looking at different ballots.
“That’s all I have to vote for?” Joyce Beiler aksed as she went into the booth. Her husband, Chris Beiler, a Republican precinct president for the newly created precinct, said no one told him about the change.
“It was very disconcerting,” he said.
The weather could have kept some voters from the polls, but not Carl Bud Ballard, 76, of Mount Pleasant.
“I never miss. Rain or shine,” Ballard said.
Yvonne Jordan of Mount Pleasant said it’s her civic responsibility to vote.
“It’s a privilege and a duty,” she said.