Early returns in Charleston County showed a voter turnout of more than 50 percent in many precincts in Mount Pleasant, James Island and North Charleston.
Voter participation ranged from a high of 65 percent in Mount Pleasant Precinct 29 and North Charleston Precinct 12 to only 39 percent in Charleston Precinct 17.
In North Charleston, nine precincts had turnouts between 40 percent and 50 percent. Five precincts had turnouts over 50 percent.
Of seven Charleston precincts reporting, four had turnouts of at least 50 percent, two had a turnout of 41 percent and one had 39 percent.
In Mount Pleasant, all but one of six precincts reporting was over 50 percent turnout.
No numbers were available on voter turnout in Berkeley and Dorchester counties as of 10 p.m. tonight.
Long lines that resulted in waits of more two hours were reported in some locations.
John Mack of North Charleston said he waited over an hour at Burns Elementary School on Dorchester Road just to check in with poll workers because they had just one computer on hand to verify voters. Some 200 people were standing out in the cold and rain, he said.
“People were miserable. A lot of people left because it was taking so long to process them,” Mack said.
Mack, a retiree, said he persevered because he wanted to cast his ballot for president.
In North Charleston, Kim Haymaker said she went to Cathedral of Praise, her usual voting place, only to be told she must go to Fort Dorchester High School. Her son, who lives with her in the same house, was allowed to vote at Cathedral of Praise, she said.
“If you live in the same house, you should be able to vote at the same place,” she said.
Penny Gadsen of North Charleston said she waited for two hours to vote at Fort Dorchester High School, the polling place specified on her voter registration card, but was told to go to Cathedral of Praise to cast a ballot.
In West Ashley, people got wet in the drizzle at W.L. Stephens Aquatic Center because the building was too small to allow them inside. “It’s crazy to have people standing outside in the rain,” said County Democratic Chair Richard Hricik.
Charleston residents voting at Burke High School had to wait because the computers were down at 7 a.m. A trouble-shooting tech got them working by 7:30 a.m. but the line remained long. Mike Jackson, 57, had to wait three hours to vote.
“The inefficiency of polling places is ridiculous,” he said. “I’m planning to contact somebody.”
Mount Pleasant residents stood in the cold rain at 6 a.m. outside the National Guard Armory waiting for the polls to open at 7 a.m.
Brenda Simmons said she moved to Mount Pleasant a few years ago from New York, an area hit hard by Hurricane Sandy just a week before the election. Because of the problems New Yorkers face, Simmons said she would not complain about the cold drizzle she stood in this morning.
One voter said he got to Devon Forest Elementary in Goose Creek at 6:45 a.m. and was still waiting to cast his ballot at 8:15 a.m. Another reported that the lines at Ladson Elementary School were “ridiculously long.”
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