Candidates have done a lot of talking lately -- on TV, in front of civic groups, before anyone willing to listen.

On Tuesday, it will be voters' time to speak.

South Carolina Republicans and Democrats go to the polls in two days to choose their candidates for governor, U.S. Senate and several other offices.

The state's primary season began calmly but will be remembered for the brutal homestretch in the GOP gubernatorial race.

Republicans, who have dominated the state's political scene in recent decades, will see a longer ballot, including contests for state treasurer, controller, superintendent of education and lieutenant governor.

GOP voters also will decide a pair of advisory questions, asking their opinion on the new federal health care law and state spending caps.

Democrats have three statewide primaries, with a superintendent of education race as well as their governor and Senate races.

Both parties also will settle several congressional contests, with Republicans sorting through nine candidates wishing to fill the 1st congressional district seat held by Republican Rep. Henry Brown.

Brown is leaving Congress but not retiring. He's challenging incumbent Berkeley County Supervisor Dan Davis and Hanahan Mayor Minnie Blackwell in the Lowcountry's highest-profile local battle.

By far the highest-profile state battle has been the four-way GOP contest for governor between U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, state Rep. Nikki Haley and S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster.

They have seen their primary make national news as Haley, who is vying to be the state's first female governor, faced allegations that she was unfaithful to her husband.

Haley spent much of last week repeatedly denying the allegations, noting that no proof has been offered and emphasizing that they're little more than dirty politics stirred up only after polls showed her in the lead.

Meanwhile, the Democratic gubernatorial primary has been cordial, with state Sen. Robert Ford of Charleston taking on state Sen. Vincent Sheheen of Camden and S.C. Superintendent of Education Jim Rex.

And the U.S. Senate primaries have been even quieter still, with incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint facing a primary challenge from political newcomer Susan Gaddy on the GOP side. The Democrats will choose between Charleston County Councilman and former judge Vic Rawl and Alvin Greene of Manning.

Voters also will help decide dozens of local primaries for Statehouse, County Council and other local seats.

Candidates must receive more than 50 percent of the vote Tuesday to win. If no one does, the top two will meet again June 22.

Those unable to get to the polls between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday can drop by their county election office and cast an absentee ballot until 5 p.m. Monday.

How to vote

Polls will open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Voters must have either their voter registration card, a driver's license or a state-issued picture ID.

At the polls, voters will be asked if they want to vote in the Republican or Democratic primary. Those who vote in one party's primary Tuesday can't vote in the other party's primary runoff elections June 22.

Voters will use electronic ballots with touch-screen pads listing federal, state and local candidates. Republican primary ballots also will include advisory referendum questions. Ballots will vary from precinct to precinct, depending on local races.

Voters must touch the screen next to the candidate of their choice. They may change their mind simply by touching the screen next to another candidate. Once voters decide on the candidates listed on a screen, they will touch 'Next' at the bottom of the screen. When done, voters will be asked to review their choices and can change their votes before hitting the final flashing 'Vote' sign.

To experience how the system works, go to the

For more election information, including political news, candidate profiles and links to county election commissions, visit The commission sites for Charleston and Berkeley counties have sample ballots, which could be different depending on where you live.