The number of S.C. voters is growing at a faster rate than the state’s population.
A total of 3,134,652 South Carolinians are registered to vote in November’s general election, up 9 percent from 2012, according to the S.C. Election Commission. That increase added 259,431 voters to the Palmetto State’s voter rolls ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
Those increased numbers also show some shifts in the state’s demographics, including:
▪ A 43 percent jump in Hispanic voter registration
▪ A 34 percent increase in Asian registration
▪ A 10 percent increase in white registration
▪ A 5 percent increase in African-American registration
In comparison, the state’s population grew less than 6 percent — to an estimated 4,896,146 — from 2015 to 2010.
The Election Commission released the voter numbers Wednesday, after it extended the registration deadline for would-be voters to get their applications in.
With Hurricane Matthew approaching last week, many county voter offices shut down ahead of Saturday’s registration deadline. In response, state officials extended the deadline to midnight Sunday for online applications and to Tuesday for mail-in registrations.
Why the increase in voters?
The heated presidential race may be encouraging previously unregistered South Carolinians to sign up to vote. Earlier this year, primaries saw historic turnout levels, and the first presidential debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump drew a record audience.
Ten S.C. counties have added 10,000 voters or more since the previous presidential election.
Horry County saw the most growth in its electorate, adding nearly 35,000 new voters since 2012. Charleston, Greenville and York counties also added more than 20,000 voters each.
One county – Orangeburg – saw its registered voters drop — to 58,658 from 60,639 in 2012.
Women should cast more ballots than men in South Carolina.
More than 1.7 million women are registered, up 8 percent from 2012, compared to 1.4 million men, up 10 percent over the same period.
South Carolina’s voters also will skew older this year.
Voters from 45 to 64 years old account for 35 percent of the state’s registered voter. Following close behind are voters from 25 to 44 year old at 32 percent. Voters 65 or older make up 24 percent of the electorate, while those 18 to 24 are 8 percent.
Registered voters in 2016 compared to 2012
Richland: 253,053, up 8,411
Lexington: 176,740, up 14,100
Kershaw: 41,798, up 2,684
Winners and losers statewide
Counties with the biggest increase in registered voters since 2012
Horry: Up 34,961 to 205,705
Charleston: Up 33,517 to 277,357
Greenville: Up 26,821 to 313,219
York: Up 24,152 to 167,466
Spartanburg: Up 17,609 to 177,915
Orangeburg: Down 1,981 to 58,658
SC’s changing voters
A look at how South Carolina’s voter demographics have changed since 2012
White voters: 2,169,272, up 192,377
Black voters: 864,949, up 41,382
Hispanic voters: 44,626, up 13,331
Asian voters: 26,951, up 6,906
Native American voters: 6,725, up 933