COLUMBIA, SC — On Tuesday, voters will decide who leads the city of Columbia in the first city election held in November. Earlier this year, the council voted to cut their terms six months short to have the election Tuesday instead of in April.
In the election, voters will decide on a mayor by choosing between the incumbent, who just completed his first term, and a councilman challenging for the position.
The challenger will keep his district seat on the council seat if he loses the mayor’s race.
Voters will choose the majority of City Council seats and three sitting council members face opposition, in addition to the mayor.
Voters also will decide whether to increase their taxes to give more money for Richland County libraries.
A separate election will be held on Dec. 3 to decide whether the city’s government should convert to the strong-mayor form, instead of the current council-manager system.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
Where to vote. Check the bottom of your voter registration card or go thestate.com/elections to find a list of polling places.
What to bring. Bring your voter registration card.
The deal with Photo ID. Voters also will need to provide photo identification: a S.C. driver’s license, S.C. DMV ID card, S.C. voter registration card with a photo, federal military ID or a U.S. passport and a VA Card.
Voters can get a Photo ID before voting from their county voter registration office by providing their name, date of birth and last four digits of their social security number.
Voters who forget to bring their photo ID may vote a provisional ballot that will count only if they show their Photo ID to the election commission prior to certification of the election.
Voters who can’t get a Photo ID need to bring their non-photo voter registration card (old card without photo). They can vote a provisional ballot after signing an affidavit stating they have a reasonable impediment to obtaining a photo ID, said Chris Whitmire, director of Public Information & Training for the South Carolina State Election Commission. The ballot will count unless someone proves to the election commission that the voter was lying on the affidavit.
What not to bring. You will not be allowed into a polling place while carrying a campaign sign or wearing a campaign shirt, hat, button or sticker.
WHO CAN VOTE?
Registering. Eligible voters must have registered by Oct. 5.
Curbside voting. Any voter who, because of physical handicap or age (65 or older), cannot enter the polling place in which he or she is registered, or is unable to stand in line to vote, may drive or be driven to the polls and vote outside the polling place without leaving the vehicle.
Absentee voting. Anyone wanting to vote absentee who has not yet applied for a ballot must apply in person by 5 p.m. Monday. Go to your county election commission to vote.
ON THE BALLOT
CITY OF COLUMBIA:
Mayor, council bids: Columbia voters will decide whether to return Mayor Steve Benjamin to office or replace him with Councilman Moe Baddourah. Three council members in at-large, District 2 and District 4 face opposition in their races.
On the ballot but no longer running: Larry Sypolt dropped his bid for mayor late last month, but his name will still appear on the ballot.
Countywide referendum: The library is asking Richland County voters for permission to borrow $59 million for systemwide improvements. Each facility but Eastover, updated earlier this year, would get meeting space and new libraries would be built in Ballentine and Northeast Richland County. Cost to taxpayers: $12 to $14 a year for the owner of $100,000 home.
Blythewood: Three council seats – one for two years, filling an unexpired term, and the other two for four-year terms.
Arcadia Lakes: The town will get a new mayor, with the incumbent retiring. Two council seats also are on the ballot.
Mayoral races: Up to six Lexington County municipalities could have new mayors after the ballot. At least two are guaranteed with the retirement of incumbents in Batesburg-Leesville and Pelion.
Unopposed: No ballot in three towns – Irmo, Pelion and Summit – where all candidates are unopposed and elected automatically.
Referendums: Chapin, Sunday sale of beer and wine in stores; Lexington, road tax increase in Golden Hills neighborhood; Pine Ridge, tax hike for fire hydrants
Precincts: Some precincts are combined for this election. Signs will be posted at ones not in use, directing voters to ballot site. For a list of county polling places, see thestate.com/elections.