A spat over missing signs outside a polling place today has been blown out of proportion, Berkeley County Elections Director Wanda Farley said.
The incident occurred at Whitesville Elementary School, one of the polling places for today’s special election for House District 100, the late Rep. David Umphlett's seat.
Conservative blogger Will Folks, former Gov. Mark Sanford’s press agent, sent out a tweet to his nearly 7,700 followers about 1 p.m. that the Republican candidate got kicked out of a precinct after an argument.
Republican candidate Eddy Southard and the poll manager at Whitesville Elementary School got into an argument because there were no signs outside the school identifying it as a polling place, Farley said. The discussion got heated, but nobody got kicked out. Signs were then put up outside the school, which is in session today, she said.
Southard called the tweet “totally incorrect information.”
“I left on my own,” he said. “I did question why they didn’t have signs. I was not asked to leave.”
Southard, a contractor and Berkeley County planning commission chairman, is running against Democrat Tonia Aiken-Taylor.
Republicans were openly worried before the election that they needed a good turnout to win in this largely rural swath of Berkeley County. The district includes more than 17,000 registered voters in parts of Goose Creek, Moncks Corner, Whitesville, Cordesville, Pimlico and Macedonia.
“So far, it’s not been a very good turnout at all,” Farley said.
For example, only 51 people had voted by noon at a Moncks Corner precinct with 1,400 registered voters, she said.
On the other hand, about 400 people were reported at Southard’s precinct at Berkeley Intermediate School.
Republicans were also worried by the high number of absentee ballots that have been cast. More than 800 were filed before today’s election, Farley said.