Absentee voting in the city of Charleston's election isn't as high as one election official expected, but it already has surpassed the 2007 mark.

As of early Thursday afternoon, at least 1,173 absentee ballots had been cast in the city's election, where five candidates are running for mayor and five City Council seats also are up for grabs.

While that number is several dozen more than the total absentee ballots cast four years ago, Charleston County Election and Voter Registration Director Joseph Debney said, "I just thought we would have more."

The city has 80,628 registered voters. The city's 2007 election was marked by low turnout, which totaled only about 27 percent. In 2003, about 39 percent of city voters cast ballots.

Absentee voting also is running light in other municipal races, he said. North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey is facing a challenge from Charleston County School Board Vice Chairman Chris Collins. Mount Pleasant and several other municipalities have council seats up for grabs on Tuesday.

Voters can cast absentee ballots in person -- provided they cite a reason why they are unable to vote on Election Day -- until 5 p.m. Monday at Charleston County's election offices at 4367 Headquarters Road.

Absentee ballots sent out by mail or email must be returned to that office by 7 p.m. Tuesday.