The Buzz

Officials: turnout low for run-offs in Richland, Lexington counties

BY BRISTOW MARCHANT

bmarchant@thestate.com

Election officials in Richland and Lexington counties are hoping voters are waiting until after work to cast their ballots in several run-off elections on Tuesday.

As of 5 p.m., precincts countywide in Lexington and in a state House and county council district in Richland County have seen sporadic turnout throughout the day, giving poll workers little to do even in normally low turnout primary votes.

“It’s not what we expected,” said Dean Crepes, Lexington County’s election director. “We hope it will pick up as people get off work.”

Votes in Lexington County are choosing a new solicitor, clerk and register of deeds, as well as voting in county council districts 3 and 6.

Fewer voters are heading to the polls in Richland County, which has run-offs in House District 79 and County Council District 10 – about 30 precincts, said county election director Sam Selph.

“We talked this morning and decided we might see 5,500 to 6,000 voters,” Selph said – much less than 10 percent of the combined districts’ registered voters.

Statewide, 17 South Carolina counties have countywide run-offs on Tuesday, and another 15 have run-offs in select districts. Only three have run-offs for both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Despite the low numbers, polling had run smoothly throughout the day, with only a few precincts in Lexington County opening without power after overnight storms. Crepes said those polling places were able to operate voting machines on battery power before electricity was quickly restored.

“SCE&G knew we had an election today,” he said. “So I commend them for that.”

Polling places remain open until 7 p.m. Tuesday night. Results will be up on TheState.com as they come in Tuesday.

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