Live coverage of South Carolina’s Republican primary

A line leads out the door as people wait to cast an early vote in the GOP primaries Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016 at the John L. Chisolm Election Headquarters in North Charleston. Paul Zoeller/Staff

The moment of truth has arrived.

The six Republican candidates vying for the presidency have held rallies, kissed babies, taken selfies and made their case in South Carolina for nearly two weeks.

And now, they must wait to find out if it worked.

Polls opened 7 a.m. Saturday across South Carolina for the Republican primary. The Democrats will have their turn next weekend.

Today, South Carolina voters can choose between former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and business tycoon Donald Trump.

Voters will have until 7 p.m. to decide. That’s when the polls close. [Find your polling place.]

We will be bringing you live coverage throughout the day and into the night. Check back to postandcourier.com for updates.

The hotly contested race for second place between Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was too close to call as polls closed at 7 p.m.

[Read more: Trump wins South Carolina primary while heated battle for second goes on]

With voting over, exit polls show it’s a three-person race between Trump, Cruz and Rubio. NBC says the race between the three is “too close to call.”

The polls are closed. The day is done. The “I voted” sticker might not be so sticky now. Check back to postandcourier.com to find out who will take South Carolina tonight. Thanks for tuning in with us today. Our reporters are fanned out across the state to bring you continued coverage of the Republican primary.

It all comes down to the next 60 seconds, y’all.

Exit polls from the Associated Press in South Carolina show terrorism and the direction of the economy are among the top issues for GOP voters.

The polls will close in 10 minutes at 7 p.m. If you plan on voting, you might want to get on down to your polling place...

Reporter Christina Elmore reports roughly 190 ballots have been cast at Buist Academy, about 11.9 percent of the precinct.

Buist Academy is across the street from Emanuel AME Church, where 9 parishioners were killed last year.

The South Carolina Election Commission wants to make sure people aren’t being misinformed about what they need to vote today.

Chris Whitmire, spokesperson for the South Carolina Election Commission, gave this summary earlier today. We are sharing this again in case you missed it:

Poll managers will ask voters to show one of five photo IDs. Accepted forms of identification are a S.C. drivers license, a S.C. DMV ID, a S.C. photo voter registration card, a federal military ID or a U.S. passport.

If a voter forgets to bring their ID to their polling site, they can cast a provisional ballot. However, the voter will need to show their photo ID to the county elections office before Thursday. That’s when the election results will be verified.

If a voter does not have one of the five forms of photo ID, they can bring a non-photo voter registration card with them. This is the paper voter registration card that everyone receives when they register to vote. This allows the voter to sign an affidavit stating why they could not get a photo ID that would have allowed them to cast a provisional ballot.

This ballot will count unless someone proves to the election board that a false affidavit was submitted.

“No registered voter in the correct precinct should ever be turned away without being given the opportunity to vote,” Whitmire said in a statement.

You have one hour left to cast your vote in South Carolina’s Republican primary. Polls close at 7 p.m. If you’re still standing in line to vote at 7 p.m., you will not be turned away. Just keep standing in line and make sure you know who you’re going to vote for when it’s your turn. Don’t know where to go? Find your polling place here.

According to election staff, only 33 voters have showed up today at predominately black polling location Sanders-Clyde Elementary and Middle School in Charleston. That’s a mere 1.83 percent of two precincts.

Staff told reporter Christina Elmore that some voters mistakenly showed up thinking they could cast a vote for their favorite Democrat. When the found out they couldn’t, they “snatched their ID back and said ‘see you next week,’” the staff said.

CNN is reporting South Carolina exit polls show 73 percent of GOP voters self-identify as evangelicals. This is an increase from 65 percent in 2012.

Reporter Christina Elmore talked with Jorge Berrios at Pine Ridge Fire Department. Berrios, who is Puerto Rican, voted for Trump. ”He’s different from other politicians,” Berrios said.

Berrios also said he trusts the billionaire to fix the economy and address immigration issues.

“We pay taxes,” Berrios said of he and his wife. He said it frustrates him to see others receive services he can’t even get.

Berrios added that in 2012 he voted for President Barack Obama, but ultimately felt like Obama failed to deliever on promises to address immigration.

Reporter Christina Elmore just spoke Poll Manager Al Bailey at Pine Ridge Fire Department. Bailey told Elmore 230 voters have cast their ballots so far, or 20.92 percent of the precinct.

Bailey said the precinct was recently split and is down to 1,000 from about 2,300.

Bailey also mentioned that he received more than 20 robocalls yesterday. Though Bailey said he doesn’t mind getting political calls from a human being, he said he hates recorded messages “with a purple passion.”

Despite endorsements from the editorial boards of the two largest newspapers in South Carolina, our reporter Christina Elmore has yet to encounter a John Kasich supporter at the polls. Anecdotally, Elmore says she’s run into More Ted Cruz and Donald Trump supporters so far than any others.

Reporter Christina Elmore spoke with Poll Manager Linda Johnson at Cane Bay Elementary in Summerville. Johnson said about 900 voters have cast ballots here so far, or about 29.64 percent.

According to Google Trends, residents in South Carolina have some very specific questions about the Republican presidential candidates. Here’s the questions you’re Googling right now about the candidates.

1. Who is Donald Trump’s sister?

2. How did Donald Trump do at the debate?

3. Has Donald Trump ever gone bankrupt?

4. Did Donald Trump win?

5. Is Donald Trump running as a Republican?

1. What did Ted Cruz say in Spanish?

2. Who did Ted Cruz clerk for?

3. Is anyone in the Senate supporting Ted Cruz?

4. Who is endorsing Ted Cruz?

5. Where was Ted Cruz born?

1. Is Marco Rubio a lawyer?

2. Why won’t Marco Rubio be a good president?

3. How long has Marco Rubio been a U.S. Senator?

4. What is Marco Rubio’s stance on immigration?

5. Why should I not vote for Marco Rubio?

1. Where is Ben Carson speaking today?

2. What did Ted Cruz say to Ben Carson?

3. What did Ben Carson say to fifth graders?

4. How much is Ben Carson worth?

5. How old is Ben Carson’s wife?

1. How tall is Jeb Bush?

2. How old are Jeb Bush and George Bush?

3. Will George W. Bush help Jeb?

4. When was Jeb Bush governor?

5. Where was Jeb Bush in Charleston?

1. How tall is Kasich?

2. What happened to John Kasich’s parents?

3. How many delegates does John Kasich have?

4. What does John Kasich want to do?

5. How has Kasich done as governor?

Berkeley County Elections Director Adam Hammons said a record turnout is still in the cards for Berkeley County.

“We’re still hearing good numbers, so I think we’re still on track to get between 25-30 percent turnout, which would be record turnout for us,” Hammons said.

By mid-afternoon, no long lines were reported.

Hammons said there has been some confusion from voters about where they are voting.

“We’ve gotten a few calls on that. We’ve got some new locations that split some of larger precincts,” he said.

Hammons said the only other issue that has come up is people forgetting to bring a form of photo ID to the polls.

“It’s our first real major election with this new law, and we just keep reiterating to bring that identification,” he said.

Reporter Emma Dumain has learned U.S. Rep Joe Wilson of Aiken voted for Rubio Saturday. “I believe (Rubio) is somebody who can bring a positive change, which is needed, to Washington,” Wilson said. “I also appreciate his stand for strong national defense, and he’s very consistent we’ve got to have a strong national defense.”

[Read more: Marco Rubio wins Joe Wilson’s vote in GOP primary]

Reporter Christina Elmore spoke with Kelly Baskin at Howe Hall Elementary. Baskin said after Haley threw her support behind Rubio, he knew he would vote for him. “If she think’s he’s got what it takes to unite the country and work with both sides of the aisle, that’s good enough for me.”

Reporter Christina Elmore spoke with Bill Billingsley at Howe Hall Elementary. Billingsley voted for Cruz. “He’s a conservative. I think everyone else is just playing at it.”

Reporter Christina Elmore spoke with Heather Klingsmith at Howe Hall Elementary. Klingsmith said she voted for Cruz. “I think he has the best chance of beating Bernie or Hillary,” Klingsmith said, before adding, “A vote for Trump is a vote for Bernie or Hillary.”

Dorchester Board of Elections Director Josh Dickard said the county is seeing more people casting ballots than expected.

Beach Hill Elementary saw 15-20 minute wait times before noon.

Extra supplies, such as change of address forms and envelopes, had to be sent out to various polling locations due to the demand, Dickard said.

“The locations that we knew had longer lines today, we’ve contacted them again. Now, it’s down to just a few people waiting in line at a time,” he said.

But the greatest issues Dorchester County has faced today has not been the long lines.

“One of the most common phone calls we received this morning was address issues. We’d like to remind people to go online to check where their polling location is before they head out to vote,” Dickard said. “You also had to meet the deadline of Jan. 20 to vote in this election.”

Dickard estimates between 190 and 195 poll workers are staffing polling sites throughout Dorchester County today.

For context, during a November election, he said, that staffing number would be about 300.

Reporter Christina Elmore spoke with poll manager Denise Baker at Howe Hall Elementary. The voting site houses two precincts. Baker said so far 422 voters have cast ballots, or roughly 13 percent.

Following the lunchtime voting hours, Charleston County Elections Director Joe Debney said polling places in both Mount Pleasant and West Ashley had some heavy turnout.

To meet that demand, Debney said roughly 700 poll workers are manning the polls today.

“It’s not as many as we normally use,” Debney said, noting the Saturday scheduling has made it difficult for some poll workers to work both the Republican and the upcoming Democratic primary.

Otherwise, voting has been going smoothly without any hiccups in Charleston County.

Reporter Andrew Knapp said voters he has spoken to today are clearly passionate, but that having so many options can be frustrating. One voter in Mount Pleasant told Knapp they dreamed of “Crump,” a Cruz and Trump hybrid candidate.

Reporter Christina Elmore spoke with Karen Lawson who voted for Carson at Goose Creek High. Lawson had a long list of reasons why she threw her support behind the retired neurosurgeon, including his work ethic, positivity, intelligence and Christian values. “I feel like he wasn’t raised in a political realm,” Lawson said.

Reporter Christina Elmore spoke with John Lago at Goose Creek High. Lago said he voted for Rubio. Lago also said Gov. Nikki Haley’s endorsement of Rubio was “good” but not a deciding factor for him. “Anybody but Trump... or Clinton,” he said.

Polling Manager Milton Terre at Goose Creek High School told Reporter Christina Elmore that he has heard many reports of people receiving an alarming amount of political phone calls. Terre said he spoke with one woman who received 27 calls before noon and midnight before she voted in the primary this morning. Terre himself said he received 19 phone calls between 6-9 p.m. “It’s utterly ridiculous,” he said.

Rubio’s campaign slammed Cruz this afternoon when it learned about fake calls that made it sound like Rubio had dropped out of the race.

Joe Pounder, senior advisor to Rubio’s campaign, said in a statement that the calls were reported after Friday night’s rally in Clemson.

At said rally, a man got sick and Rubio ended the event early and lead the crowd in a prayer.

“Unfortunately, while Marco was leading the crowd in prayer, some were writing scripts for anonymous phone calls using the incident to suggest Marco was leaving the race,” Pounder said in a statement. “These calls are false, malicious, and beneath the dignity of all South Carolinians.”

Pounder then called for Cruz to “immediately repudiate these calls.”

Reporter Christina Elmore spoke with Polling Manager Milton Terre at Goose Creek High School. Terre told her that roughly 310 voters have cast ballots so far at this site. Or, looked at another way, that’s roughly 9.67 percent of the two precincts that are voting at the school.

Terre said that’s more than he thought would show up today, citing how “aggravated” he said the community is with political phone calls.

Reporter Christina Elmore spoke with Charleston Southern University sophomore Kasen Wysong outside of Goose Creek High School. Wysong was passing out fliers that contain what he called an “important legislative update” from statehouse Rep. Samuel Rivers, Jr.

Wysong, a Wisconsin native, said he could not vote in today’s primary. Instead, Wysong said volunteering to pass out fliers was “my way of being present.”

Today is the Republican primary, but Democrats aren’t letting that stop them or their campaigning. A Bernie Sanders bus was seen circling around the Charleston City Market this afternoon on South Market Street.

Cathy Sizer of Mount Pleasant spoke with Reporter Andrew Knapp at Moultrie Middle. Sizer said she had originally planned to vote for Rubio. Instead, she voted for Trump Saturday, saying she thinks he will restore honor to the presidency. “He says what everybody is feeling. I hope he can do what he says,” Sizer said of Trump.

When you arrive at the Felix Davis Community Center, don’t let the packed parking lot fool you. Reporter Christina Elmore tweeted, “There’s also an adoption fair today at Felix Davis.”

While voters continue to cast their ballots, there are multiple story lines that could shake out tonight in South Carolina’s Republican primary. Political Reporter Schuyler Kropf takes a close look at the possibilities and what it could mean for the conservative contenders.

[Read more: Best-case, worse-case scenarios for GOP presidential hopefuls]

Reporter Andrew Knapp tweeted a picture of a line-free Moultrie Middle School, where several precincts are located.

While at the Felix Davis Community Center precinct, Reporter Christina Elmore spoke with Sadie Odom. Odom said she voted for Cruz because, “I thought he was the only one who could beat Hillary Clinton.”

John Beckroge told Reporter Christina Elmore that he voted for Trump. When asked why, he told her, “I don’t know. ...Because I’m mixing it up.” Beckroge added that he has a lot of friends who are Democrats, but that Trump is “the only one saying good things.”

Reporter Christina Elmore spoke with Clerk Maple Rose Folmar at the Felix Davis Community Center precinct this afternoon. Folmar said 107 voters have cast ballots here at North Charleston’s precinct 11. Folmar said that’s 14.83 percent of the precinct.

Folmar added, that’s a “really good turnout. We’re doing amazingly well.”

Elmore said this particular precinct normally sees 17 percent participating on election days. That said, seeing 14.38 percent before noon is a big deal, Folmar said.

Before we know whether Trump will dominate the polls in the Republican primary, we do know he’s dominating Google searches in South Carolina. According to Google Trends, Trump was the most-searched Republican candidate in South Carolina at 12:10 p.m., followed by Cruz and Rubio.

Reporter Andrew Knapp spoke with voter Patty Wise at Old Whitesides Elementary. Wise said she threw her support and her ballot behind Bush today, citing his stances on abortion and immigration. “I’m very confused at this moment, but I like him,” Wise said. “I’m against the immigrants coming in at one moment, but think they should be allowed at other moments.”

Berkeley County Elections Director Adam Hammons said he is cautiously optimistic that Berkeley County will see record voter turnout today.

“That’s kind of the buzz we’re hearing, and we’re seeing good, solid turnout,” Hammons said.

The 2008 Republican primary saw a 21 percent voter turnout in Berkeley County, and a 22 percent turnout in 2012.

“I would say we’ll probably get a little bit over that. It probably won’t blow it out of the water or anything like that, but 25-30 percent sounds like we’re seeing out there,” he said.

Hammons also said there was a 20- to 30-minute wait time at Crowfield Baptist Church in the morning when polls first opened, but that those long wait times have since disappeared.

“We’ve got a little over 300 poll workers in 78 different precincts,” Hammons said. “We’ve got a lot of people and a lot of area to cover, but it’s been pretty smooth operations so far.”

Reporter Andrew Knapp tweeted Bush has volunteers outside of the precinct at Greater Goodwill AME. “You just hope to plant a seed,” one said. Knapp notes this kind of rhetoric outside of polling sites is allowed under the law.

Reporter Christina Elmore visited the North Charleston High precinct this morning. Poll manager Chicquetta Fullilove said the site, which is the city’s eight precinct, has seen 57 voters so far. For context, Elmore notes that number is 5.83 percent of the precinct.

Reporter Andrew Knapp tweeted that all of the Kasich supports he has talked to do not cite passions for any policy issues. Instead, they just say that “Kasich isn’t divisive.”

Todd Eisner told Reporter Andrew Knapp that he waited 30 minutes with his wife and toddler-aged son to vote for Kasich. Eisner described Kasich as a unifier. “He’s the only one who can bring everybody together,” Eisner said. “He’s the only one who doesn’t seem to be saying things just to get special interests.”

Reporter Andrew Knapp reports the Greater Goodwill AME Church has a 30-minute wait for voters. The church is the site of three voting precincts. Knapp tweeted it was the first line he has seen in Mount Pleasant.

Public Safety Editor Cleve O’Quinn spoke with Hanahan resident Sonny Morrison, who cast his vote at the city’s elementary school.

Morrison said he primarily picked Cruz because of the Texas senator’s Christianity and support from Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family. “God will help him to make the correct decisions,” Morrison said. “He would go to God on a regular basis.”

A Navy veteran, Morrison likes and respects Jeb Bush but worries about the former Florida governor’s long-term chances. He predicts a Cruz-Trump-Rubio showing in the Palmetto State.

On the tone of the primary, Morrison said there’s been some “muckraking, but that goes with every election.”

Reporter Andrew Knapp said he talked to several people at Mount Pleasant precincts, but noticed there was one person he did not seem to run into: a Trump supporter.

“Haven’t yet encountered supporter of Donald Trump, the S.C. Primary frontrunner,” Knapp tweeted.

Mount Pleasant resident Glenn Unthank told reporter Andrew Knapp he voted for Rubio. The veteran said he voted for Rubio because of his stances on the military, foreign affairs and immigration. “He’s very good with the military and the international stuff we have to deal with,” Unthank said, adding he thought Rubio was articulate. “He’s going to make a great president.”

Paul Evangelist told reporter Andrew Knapp that he voted for Cruz at Mount Pleasant’s Wando High. “He’ll support the Constitution. He’ll uphold it, more so than the other candidates,” Evangelist said. “I can trust him. He does what he says.”

The South Carolina Election Commission wants to make sure people aren’t being misinformed about what they need to cast their ballot today.

Chris Whitmire, spokesperson for the South Carolina Election Commission, gave this summary:

Poll managers will ask voters to show one of five photo IDs. Accepted forms of identification are a S.C. drivers license, a S.C. DMV ID, a S.C. photo voter registration card, a federal military ID or a U.S. passport.

If a voter forgets to bring their ID to their polling site, they can cast a provisional ballot. However, the voter will need to show their photo ID to the county elections office before Thursday. That’s when the election results will be verified.

If a voter does not have one of the five forms of photo ID, they can bring a non-photo voter registration card with them. This is the paper voter registration card that everyone receives when they register to vote. This allows the voter to sign an affidavit stating why they could not get a photo ID that would have allowed them to cast a provisional ballot.

This ballot will count unless someone proves to the election board that a false affidavit was submitted.

“No registered voter in the correct precinct should ever be turned away without being given the opportunity to vote,” Whitmire said in a statement.

Dorchester Elections Director Josh Dickard said voting has been steady and smooth since polls opened this morning.

“We’ve had no trouble. No real lines,” he said, noting people are having to wait less than 5 minutes to vote.

He attributes the day’s pacing to the fact that the primary is being held on a Saturday.

“Saturdays are a little more difficult to gauge. Tuesday elections are easy. People come in on their lunch break or after work,” he explained. “Generally these Saturday primaries see a spike first thing in the morning, again around noon or lunch and then toward the end of the day around 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. All around, it’s pretty steady.”

Reporter Andrew Knapp spoke with Mike Houser, who voted at Wando High this morning. Houser said he voted for Carson, saying there is a need for a caring and genuine president of the people. “Everyone is in shambles about everything. Nobody can agree,” Houser said. “He’s above the drama and really cares about people.”

Reporter Andrew Knapp said there has been a steady stream of voters at Wando High, which is the site of Mount Pleasant precincts 38 and 39. “But no long lines,” he reports.

Reporter Robert Behre said James Island voting precincts 17 and 19 at Harbor View School have had a turnout of 6 percent thus far.

Virginia Hillis recently moved to Mount Pleasant from Kentucky. She told reporter Andrew Knapp today was her first time voting in Mount Pleasant, and she voted for Kasich. “The divisive politics are counterproductive. I think John Kasich could achieve things in a bipartisan fashion,” Hillis said.

Reporter Andrew Knapp spoke with Ann Cortes, an English as a second language teacher, who voted at the Mount Pleasant 33 precinct this morning. Cortes said she voted for Ted Cruz, citing his stances on debt, immigration and national security. “We’re talking illegal immigration. If you don’t enforce immigration laws, you don’t really have a country,” she said.

Charleston County Board of Elections Director Joe Debney said Saturday morning that voting seems to be going well in Charleston County. However, he shies away from calling it record-breaking. When asked why, Debney pointed to the sheer growth of registered voters the county has seen in the past eight years.

“Back in ‘08 when we did this, we had 170,000 registered voters. Now, we have 264,000,” Debney said. “For it to be record-turnout, those numbers would have to be pretty high in terms of just doing the math.”

In other words, the proverbial voting pie is getting larger. You’d need a larger slice to repeat a record-breaking turnout.

Debney estimated the voter turnout in 2008 was around 20 percent.

The most interesting growth Debney has seen since 2008 was in absentee voting.

“Election day turnout stays consistent, around 120,000 to 127,000, but our absentee ballots went up in ‘08 and ‘12,” Debney said.

In 2008, Debney reports Charleston County received 30,000 absentee ballots. In 2012, that number grew to 37,000.

“It seems like people are going out and voting,” he said.

The South Carolina State Election Commission tweeted nearly 78,000 absentee ballots have been returned in both the Republican and Democratic primaries, adding that it’s “more than double” the volume of ballots returned in the 2008 presidential primaries.

Make sure you have one of the following forms of photo identification ready when you get to the polls:

S.C. driver’s license

S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles ID card

S.C. Voter Registration Card with photo

Federal military ID

U.S. passport

The Associated Press is reporting Jesse Jackson, an American civil rights activist and political figure, plans to be in Orangeburg Saturday morning for a voter drive. Jackson has ties to the Palmetto State. He was born in Greenville, S.C. in 1941.

[Read more: Jesse Jackson in South Carolina for voter drive]

Taking a closer look at the findings in the Clemson University Palmetto Poll, 21 percent of respondents said what they like most about their first choice for president is that the candidate “has honesty and integrity.” In second, 15 percent of respondents said it was “the candidate’s overall political ideology.”

A recent Clemson University Palmetto Poll is predicting a Trump victory in the South Carolina Republican primary. In that survey, Trump carries a 28 percent level of support among the 650 South Carolina voters Clemson University surveyed. Nipping at Trump’s heels, though, are Cruz, with 19 percent support, and Rubio with 15 percent support. This could mean the race is on for second.

[Read more: Three GOP leaders make their last-ditch push through Charleston]

Reach Caitlin Byrd at 843-937-5590 and follow her on Twitter @MaryCaitlinByrd.

Caitlin Byrd is a political reporter at The Post and Courier and author of the Palmetto Politics newsletter. Before moving to Charleston in 2016, her byline appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times. To date, Byrd has won 17 awards for her work.