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If you're politically bummed by Wando Bridge mess, you can vote early ahead of June 12 party primaries. File/Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

By Grace Beahm Alford gbeahm@postandcourier.com

Charleston County voting officials are reminding residents affected by the Wando River bridge shutdown they can vote early or absentee ahead of the June 12 party primaries.

Early voting opens 30 days before the election.

Officials have increased their push to support early voting in recent years. The bridge shutdown gives them with yet another reason to encourage it.  

"It's been my goal to increase absentee (voting) and draw down Election Day just so people don't have long days at the polls," said Joe Debney, director of the Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration.

Party leaders already are concerned that the bridge closure and the associated bad traffic may suppress turnout.

State officials have said the James B. Edwards Bridge on Interstate 526 should reopen by June 11, but Charleston County Democratic Party Chairman Brady Quirk-Garvan said, "I'm not holding my breath on a fixed bridge."

He said it's not just East Cooper voters he's concerned about, since the altered traffic flow also affects others across the county.

Voters can request an absentee voting form by emailing absentee@charlestoncounty.org or by calling the office at 843-744-8683.

Voters can also appear in person at the county voting office at 4367 Headquarters Road in North Charleston. Voting hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Voting machines will be delivered to polling places beginning a week before the election.

Democrats and Republicans have multiple races to decide in nomination primaries June 12.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 843-937-5551. Follow him on Twitter at @skropf47.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.