COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Voters across the Midlands will head to the polls on Tuesday to cast their ballots in a variety of local races, helping to craft the blueprint moving forward for city and town leadership.
Historically speaking, voters tend to skip the polls for off-year local elections, with turnout expected to be about 15 percent. However, the work done by city and town governments often has a much larger impact on people’s day-to-day lives than anything done on the federal level. Still, many voters won’t cast their ballots.
Taxes, safety and security, local school quality, public transit, and rent costs are just a few of the issues local governments manage. Unlike campaign promises made on the national stage, the local issues affect people on a more direct level.
“These are things that affect you every day,” said Robert Oldendick, a political science professor at UofSC. “With turnout being low, every vote can make a difference because many of the races are often decided by very slim margins.”
2018 was an off-presidential year, but Oldendick said it was an exception to the rule. Last year, voters came out in record numbers for a congressional election.
“It’s likely because it was after two years of Donald Trump’s presidency because politics seems to be hitting people in the face on a daily basis, there was a lot more interest in 2018,” he said.
Some of the most high-profile races in the Midlands include the City of Columbia At-Large council seat, the Irmo and West Columbia mayoral race.
Polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7 p.m. Anyone in line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote. If you’re unsure of where your polling location is, visit scvotes.gov.
To see what will be on the ballot near you, visit our WIS Election Guide.