So far, absentee voting in the 1st Congressional District points toward light turnout for Tuesday’s primaries.

Charleston County, the largest of the five counties in the district, has had 787 absentee ballot returned through Thursday, less than half a percent of the 189,611 eligible voters there.

“I want people to come out and vote,” said Joe Debney, director of the Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration. “I would like the turnout to be higher.”

Charleston is not atypical. Berkeley has had 500 absentee ballot requests, from about 92,000 registered voters, a “very light turnout,” Berkeley elections director Wanda Farley said.

Only 430 absentee ballots have been requested so far in Dorchester County, and 308 have been returned. The county has 75,684 eligible voters.

The county is allowing in-person absentee voting at its St. George and Summerville offices through 5 p.m. today, Dorchester elections director Joshua Dickard said. The St. George office will handle in-person absentee voting through 5 p.m. Monday.

The congressional election is seeing a light turnout, but it’s not for a lack of choices, with 16 Republicans and two Democrats facing off.

The race began in December when Gov. Nikki Haley appointed then-Rep. Tim Scott to the U.S. Senate vacancy created by Jim DeMint’s resignation.

Those who do not vote absentee may go to the polls Tuesday, and the eventual primary winners will face off in a special election on May 7.

Absentee deadlines

The deadline for voting with an in-person absentee ballot (cast at your county election office) is 5 p.m. Monday.

Voters also may get an absentee ballot by mail either by requesting one at or by calling your election office — all such requests must be received by 5 p.m. today.

Once a ballot is received and marked, it must be returned (either in person or by mail) by 7 p.m. Tuesday.

A person may vote absentee for several reasons, including they are 65 or older; they are students attending school in another county; they are in the Armed Forces; they will work election day; they are disabled; they will be on vacation. For the full list of reasons, or to check your voter registration, go to

Local election offices

Berkeley County Board of Voter Registration, P.O. Box 6122, 6 Belt Drive, Moncks Corner, S.C. 29461; phone: 719-4056; fax: 719-4060;

Charleston County Board of Voter Registration, P.O. Box 71419, 4367 Headquarters Road, North Charleston, S.C. 29405; phone: 744-8683; fax: 974-6419; www.charleston

Dorchester County Board of Elections and Voter Registration, 201 Johnston St., St. George, S.C. 29477; phone: 563-0132; fax: 832-0132;