It’s almost over.
After more than a year of seemingly nonstop campaigning, the 2016 election will come to an end Tuesday.
What can voters expect to see when they head to their polling place? High turnout, S.C. election officials say.
During election years when the president is on the ballot, turnout always is the highest. And, based on a record number of early S.C. absentee voters this year, officials are expecting interest to be very high in Tuesday’s contest.
“Absentees are 25 percent up on 2012,” said Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the S.C. Election Commission. “We know it’s on the rise, and that shows voters are already engaged in the election.”
The last four presidential elections in South Carolina have seen voter turnout range from a high of 76 percent in 2008 to a low of 63 percent in 2000.
Election officials expect turnout this year to be on the higher end of that range. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be long lines at precincts Tuesday. More than a fifth of all votes could be cast by Election Day, absentee vote-counters project.
In Lexington County, election officials project two-thirds of registered voters will cast a ballot. Of 176,740 registered voters in the county, 23,366 absentee ballots had been issued as of Thursday, and county election officials expect that total to surpass 30,000.
In Richland County, 48,441 ballots had been issued as of Thursday, out of 253,053 voters registered in the county.
Election officials expect the heated contest between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump will mean a busy day for poll workers Tuesday.
“Could we set a record? It’s possible,” Whitmire said. “There’s certainly no negative indicators.”
Voter turnout in South Carolina for the last two presidential elections
2012: 1,981,516 votes, 69 percent of registered voters
2008: 1,930,359 votes, 76 percent of registered voters