Polls open as voters decide municipal races, sales tax question

Poll workers at Hazel Parker Playground shortly after the polls opened this morning. Buy this photo

The polls have opened across the Lowcountry today, as voters will decide dozens of municipal races and a tax question, while states will see even higher profile contests.

The polls will remain open until 7 p.m.

Election officials say there have been no long waits for voters so far.

Joe Debney, director of the Charleston County Board of Elections and Registration, said there has been a low turnout throughout the day.

“There have been no emergency calls, nothing out of the ordinary,” he said. “It’s been a normal election.”

In Dorchester County, Joshua Dickard, director of Voters and Registration, said the turnout has been more than local-option sales tax supports and opponents expected.

“I’ll say between 5 and 8 percent.” Dickard said. “Which is low, but more than we thought.”

3 local elections to watch


Dorchester County voters will decide a local option sales tax question that, if successful, would raise the sales tax there by 1 percent in exchange for property tax relief.

A five-way race in Mount Pleasant to decide who will be the town’s next mayor, as Mayor Billy Swails opted against a re-election bid.

Four of 12 Charleston City Council members face opposition.

National races to watch


The Virginia gubernatorial race pitting Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe is the closest of the nation’s high-profile races.

Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — also a potential 2016 presidential contender — faces a re-election battle in a state that normally leans Democratic.

A Democrat is expected to win the New York City mayor’s race for the first time since 1989, as Bill de Blasio has a big poll lead over Republican Joe Lhota.

The forecast


Locally, the weather shouldn’t discourage voters: The forecast calls for highs in the high 60s and only a slight chance of rain.

Runoffs?


If none of Mount Pleasant’s five mayoral candidates gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff will be held Nov. 19 between the top two vote-getters. Runoffs also are possible in other races, such as the five-way Charleston City Council District 6 contest.

Other elections


Other municipalities with elections include Awendaw, the Isle of Palms, Lincolnville, Seabrook Island, McClellanville, Moncks Corner, Ravenel, Summerville and Harleyville.



Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.

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