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SC precincts unaffected by outages, runoff voting smooth so far, officials say

Poll worker Richard Schultz measures the distance between the entrance to Rosewood Elementary and campaign signs during the June 26, 2018 runoff election.
Poll worker Richard Schultz measures the distance between the entrance to Rosewood Elementary and campaign signs during the June 26, 2018 runoff election.

South Carolina elections officials say runoff voting has been smooth despite several polling places temporarily losing power after late-night thunderstorms.

Polling locations or elections offices in Colleton, Abbeville, Saluda and Spartanburg counties lost power last night after thunderstorms, but all precincts are up and running, Whitmire said. Even if power is down, the electronic voting machines have batteries and precincts stock extra paper ballots so voting can continue, Whitmire said.

"They are prepared for that," Whitmire said.

The only complaint of issues with voting was in Lake Carolina, where one woman said electronic voting machines were not indicating which party's primary she had voted in during the June 12 Primary, said Brett Bursey, director of the elections watchdog South Carolina Progressive Network.

It's unclear however, whether the issue is a human error, a machine error or something more widespread. Bursey said it was the only complaint of its kind S.C. Progressive Network has heard today. The state's Elections Commission is looking into the complaint, Whitmire said.

"Other than that, really kind of a quiet morning," said Whitmire.

At Rosewood Elementary, voters trickled in and out of the Richland County Ward 13 polling place.

Unlike the June 12 primary, where a short line of 10 to 15 people lined up before the polls opened, poll worker Richard Schultz said there were no lines when the polls opened. In the first hour, roughly 30 voters showed up, he said.

"I would call them regular voters. You get to know them after a while," said Schlutz who has volunteered as a poll worker in "four or five" of the most recent elections. "Some of us care.... I love to see people vote."

Those who voted in the June 12 primary must vote in the same party's primary as they did two weeks ago. Those who did not vote in the primary may vote in either party's runoff, Whitmire said. While the Republican runoff applies to all eligible voters in the state, there are some counties where no Democrats on the ballot.

"What voters need to understand today is that while there is a state Republican Governor's runoff... there is no statewide Democratic Governor's runoff," Whitmire said. "Check your sample ballot."

State elections officials mailed 22,992 absentee ballots to Republicans and 7,518 to Democrats throughout the state, Whitmire said. Absentee Republican voters have turned in 18,351 ballots while Democrats have returned 4,713, he said.

If absentee voters have not mailed their ballots, they have until polls close at 7 p.m. to turn them in.

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