Cold, wet weather and big crowds Tuesday morning created challenges for many voters who patiently stood in line for a chance to cast their ballot.
Charleston County: 66 percent of 243,851 registered votersBerkeley County: 57 percent of 82,891 registered voters with 52 of 66 precincts reportingDorchester County: Unavailable as of 11 p.m.South Carolina: 32 percent of 2.8 million registered voters with 26 of 46 counties reporting
John Mack of North Charleston said he waited more than an hour at Burns Elementary School on Dorchester Road just to check in with poll workers because they had only 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 Charleston County, Mack was among 66 percent of 243,851 registered voters who cast ballots. Voter participation ranged from a high of 65 percent in Mount Pleasant Precinct 29 and North Charleston Precinct 12 to 39 percent in Charleston Precinct 17.
Statewide, with 26 of 46 counties reporting, 32 percent of 2.8 million registered voters had cast ballots.
In Berkeley County, with 52 of 66 precincts reporting, 57 percent of 82,891 registered voters cast ballots. Numbers for Dorchester County were unavailable at 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Other Charleston County voters reported problems.
Kim Haymaker of North Charleston 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.
In North Charleston, nine precincts had turnouts between 40 percent and 50 percent. Five precincts had turnouts of more than 50 percent.
Penny Gadsen of North Charleston said she waited 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 Chairman 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 Superstorm 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 Tuesday morning.
One voter said he got to Devon Forest Elementary in Goose Creek at 6:45 a.m. and was still waiting to vote at 8:15 a.m. Another reported the lines at Ladson Elementary were “ridiculously long.”