Voters readying for oddly timed special election - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Voters readying for oddly timed special election

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After months of trying to make sure voters understand what they're voting for tomorrow, a big question is how many will actually go to the polls.

Special elections typically have low turnout and Tuesday's falls during a time when a lot of people are already in holiday mode.

Former Richland Councilwoman Kit Smith and Howard Duvall, the ex-Director of the state Municipal Association, have been doing their best to throw a monkey wrench into the strong mayor machine.

The newly re-elected mayor has familiar, formidable figures backing him on the proposed change in city government: Rep. James Smith, County Councilman Jim Manning, and former Gov. Jim Hodges among them.

The big question in these final hours for the push to give Columbia's mayor more clout is voter turnout, which is traditionally low in city elections and now, facing the uncertain effect of strange timing: five days after Thanksgiving -- not the season to be trying to grab voters' attention.

Both sides also say the strong mayor idea seems to be almost inseparable from Benjamin himself.

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