The bruising GOP gubernatorial race and two questions on the Republican ballot about spending and health care did not draw some voters to the polls the way that pure habit did.
Don Kinard of Goose Creek said he always votes, though his candidates don't always win.
'No matter what, I'd a been here,' he said.
He was one of 40 people who had voted at the Goose Creek City Hall complex by 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.
With most precincts reporting results late, the State Election Commission said turnout in Berkeley County was about 23 percent. It was about 22 percent in Dorchester County and 20.6 percent in Charleston County.
With most results in, the average turnout statewide was nearly 24 percent. During the past 12 years, average turnout has been between 18 percent and 26 percent, according to the election commission. General elections routinely attract greater turnout.
Berkeley County Councilman Robert O. Call Jr. expected sympathy votes for GOP gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley after personal attacks against her. He said he voted for her, though he also liked candidate Henry McMaster, the state attorney general.
'It was a tough one,' Call said.
Carole Bernacchi of Daniel Island said allegations that Haley had two inappropriate relationships didn't sway her choice. All politicians seem to have a ‘demon under their blankets, or rumors of it,' Bernacchi said, adding that she selects candidates based on the policies they support.
For Miriam Gibson, her reasons for voting are personal.
'I remember being a little girl and my African-American mother being too scared to go out and vote,' she said. 'I told myself that when I grew up that I would always vote. Every time I got into that booth, I think about her.'
While no major problems were reported Tuesday, a few voters were thrown for a loop.
Linda Ambrose, a poll clerk at Whitesides Elementary School in Mount Pleasant, said she was unable to direct voters to the correct precinct if they came to Whitesides by mistake because she couldn't pull up information on the computer she was given.
On James Island, some voters said they thought a candidate was missing from their ballots, but it turned out they didn't know which district they lived in.
Pam Lamb, a poll clerk at Hanahan Elementary School, said it seemed that voters were more confused than in previous elections.
'You have to work harder to be informed, especially in the smaller races,' Lamb said.
Melvin Backman of The Post and Courier contributed to this report.