Voters will answer some intriguing questions Tuesday in the 1st Congressional District primaries.
Has Mark Sanford earned the public’s forgiveness for his Appalachian Trail debacle, or will one of his 15 Republican opponents connect with enough voters to top the former governor?
With so many GOP candidates, will anyone earn enough support to avoid a runoff two weeks later?
On the Democratic side, can Elizabeth Colbert Busch maintain her campaign momentum against repeat candidate Ben Frasier, who has run for the seat more than a dozen times and even won the 2010 primary?
The primaries will cap a hectic three-months-long campaign that began after former U.S. Rep. Tim Scott was tapped to fill the next two years of Jim DeMint’s Senate term.
Voters also should be aware that the state’s congressional lines are still new and a bit complicated, zigzagging through the tri-county area and Beaufort and Colleton counties.
Also, this won’t be the first election since South Carolina’s Voter ID law took effect, but it will be the first major test.
All of this will play out from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday as voters head to polling places across the Lowcountry to help political parties choose their nominees for the vacant congressional seat.
Here are six things every voter needs to know:
1. Who’s running?
The full list of the 16 Republican and two Democratic candidates is above.
Since February, The Post and Courier has profiled all 18 of them, and those profiles and other info about the race can be found at postandcourier.com/first-district.
2. Which primary can I vote in?
South Carolina does not register voters by party so any registered voter may cast a ballot in either the Democratic or Republican primary (but not both).
3. When will we know the primary winners?
The Democratic primary is expected to be settled Tuesday because there are only two candidates. Because a winning candidate needs to get at least 50 percent of the vote, the top two Republican finishers likely will compete in a runoff April 2.
4. What ID do I need?
Tuesday’s elections are the first large-scale elections in South Carolina since its new Voter ID law took effect. Voters with a state-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, should plan to bring it to the polls. However, registered voters still may cast a vote without one — if they cite a “reasonable impediment” as to why they don’t have one. Such an impediment can be most anything, including “any other obstacle you find reasonable.”
5. How do I know if I’m in the 1st District and can vote in the primary?
The 1st Congressional District follows no logical geographic lines but instead includes parts of Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton and Dorchester counties. The lines were redrawn just last year.
To check which district you’re in, go to scvotes.org, click on the “Voters” tab and “Check your registration.” Doing so will clarify your congressional district (as well as your state House and Senate districts).
6. Where do I vote?
Most of the precincts and polling locations will be the same as in recent elections, but not necessarily all of them.
Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.