Mount Pleasant voters will choose a new mayor Tuesday — or at least narrow a field of five candidates down to two. Meanwhile, Dorchester County voters will decide whether they want to raise their sales tax by 1 percent and lower their property tax bills.
Polls will open Tuesday at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Voters in line by 7 p.m. will be able to vote.
The state’s new Voter ID requirements will be in effect, so voters should bring one of the following: a driver’s license or ID card issued by the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles; a state voter registration card with a photo; a federal military ID or a U.S. passport. Those who do not have one of these IDs may vote, but first must sign a form stating why they could not get one of those photo IDs.
Voters who forget their photo ID may cast a provisional ballot, but it will count only if they return to their county election office and show their photo ID there before results are certified later in the week. Voters who don’t have a photo ID can get a free photo ID from their county voter registration office Monday by providing their name, date of birth, and last four digits of their Social Security number.
Most polling places will be the same as last November. Exceptions are: Charleston 6, Memminger Elementary (20 Beaufain St.); Charleston 7, Buist Academy (103 Calhoun St.); Charleston 9, Charleston Progressive Elementary (382 Meeting St.); and Kings Grant and Kings Grant 2, Riverbluff Church. In Berkeley County, Charleston voters will go Daniel Island Elementary School, and Moncks Corner voters will vote at Moncks Corner Town Hall.
Those with questions about which town council or city council district they are in may go to scvotes.org to check.
All absentee ballots must arrive in the proper county election office by 7 p.m. Tuesday.
For more election coverage, visit www.postandcourier.com/section/politics
These are just a few elections to be held across the Lowcountry as voters in several cities and towns are set to pick new mayors, council members and commissioners for their water and sewer systems.
Who’s running Tuesday
The following is a list of contested races and questions on the ballot Tuesday in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties.
Must a one percent sales and use tax be levied in Dorchester County for the purpose of allowing a credit against a taxpayer’s county and municipal ad valorem tax liability and for the purpose of funding county and municipal operations in the Dorchester County area? Yes/No
Mayor: Miriam C. Green, Joe Bowers.
Council (3 seats): LeeAnn Reigart, Tim Penninger, Bryan McNeal Jr., Bettye J. Simmons
Council District 2: Blake Hallman, Rodney Williams
Council District 4: Liz Fulton, Robert Mitchell
Council District 6: Benjamin D’Allesandro, Fran Clasby, Joe Good, Lauretta Lemon Dailey, William Dudley Gregorie
Council District 8: Mike Seekings, Bobbie Rose
Charleston Water System (one seat): William Koopman, Tim Mallard, Catherine LaFond
Council (2 seats): Susan S. Bishop, Brenda Davis, Kenneth R. Weatherspoon
Isle Of Palms
Mayor: Dick Cronin, Ryan Buckhannon
Mayor: Tyrone E. Aiken, Charles Duberry
Council (4 seats): Aaron Baldwin, Jim Scott, Robert J. Gannon, Tynice Geathers Roundtree, Chris Bates
Council (3 seats): Tonia Aiken-Taylor, Johna T. Bilton, Charlotte Cruppenink, Jennifer Schlette
Mayor: Joe Bustos, C. Carl Carroll Jr., George A. Freeman, Ken Glasson, Linda G. Page
Council (4 seats): Ben Bryson, Elton Carrier, Paul S. Gawrych, Timm Gipe, Anthony Kowbeidu, Gary Santos, Mark Smith, Joseph Wren
Waterworks Commission (2 seats): John Burn, Alys Campaigne, Rick Crosby, Dolph Rodenberg
Mayor: Terry Ahearn, John DuBois
Council (4 seats): Glenda L. Miller, John Turner, John Gregg, Ronald J. Ciancio, Donald Romano, Kimber Smith
Council District 3: Water Bailey, John C. Hinson
Several cities and towns recently moved their municipal election day to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of odd-numbered years, to try to increase the number of ballots cast.
For information about all the candidates, go to postand courier.com/politics.
INSIDE: Endorsement for Mount Pleasant mayor, see page A8.
Still, Tuesday’s voting is expected to be relatively light, and no one expects long lines at the polls.
Tuesday’s biggest race will unfold in Mount Pleasant, the state’s fourth-largest municipality, where Mayor Billy Swails surprised observers this summer by announcing that he wouldn’t seek a second four-year term.
Five candidates hope to succeed him and win the part-time, $24,000-a-year post, which mostly involves chairing Town Council meetings.
Unlike Charleston and North Charleston, which have strong mayors, Mount Pleasant is run by an administrator. The mayoral candidates are Town Council members Ken Glasson and Linda Page, former Councilman Joe Bustos, real estate agent George Freeman and C. Carl Carroll Jr., who runs a taxi service and has done very little campaigning.
If none of them gets more than 50 percent of the vote Tuesday, town voters will return to the polls on Nov. 19 to choose between the top two vote getters.
Four years ago — when Mount Pleasant voters also had an open mayoral race — turnout was 27 percent. Swails said he expects Tuesday’s turnout to be lighter.
“I wish it were more, but I don’t think it will be,” Swails said, adding that the town hasn’t had any recent controversies to fire up voters.
“It’s been awful quiet,” he added. “I’ve never seen it this quiet. Well, I have, but it’s been a long time.”
Last November, more than 20,000 voters cast absentee ballots in person at Charleston County’s election office.
As of Friday, only about 200 had done so this year, said Joe Debney, director of Elections and Voter Registration. That includes votes for all municipal races in the county this year.
“Based on our absentee precinct, it’s been really low,” Debney said of the turnout so far. “I thought it would be higher.”
About 250 absentee ballots were cast in Dorchester County by Friday, Deputy Elections Director Todd Billman said. Those casting absentee votes in person on Monday must do so in St. George because Summerville’s absentee precinct won’t be open that day.
Billman said the turnout looks comparable to the special 1st Congressional District election this year, but he predicted turnout Tuesday would be light.
“We always like a greater turnout, but it’s about what we were expecting,” he said. “I think it’s going to be 10 percent or less, but it’s really hard to say. We could be surprised in a good way.”
For some voters, this will be their first visit to the polls since the state’s new Voter ID requirement took effect in January, but the new law has posed few problems in recent special elections this year.
Elsewhere in the Lowcountry, voters in Awendaw, the Isle of Palms, Lincolnville and Seabrook Island will settle contested mayoral races, while Awendaw, Charleston, McClellanville, Moncks Corner, Mount Pleasant, Summerville and Harleyville also will decide council races.
Most voters will use the same polling places that they have been using. One exception is in downtown Charleston, where voters who previously voted at Buist Academy, Charleston Progressive and Memminger Elementary will return to those polling places now that each of the schools have been rebuilt and reopened, Debney said.
“We have sent out new voter registration cards to the affected voters,” he added.
Some elections have been called off because the candidates had no opposition, including Summerville Town Council’s District 1 and District 5 elections and elections in St. George, Ridgeville and Rockville.
Ravenel voters will go to the polls Tuesday, but they will see only two candidates for three seats. They can cast write-in ballots for the third seat.