SC sees record-breaking voter turnout, even before Election Day

Updated: Nov. 2, 2020 at 9:44 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Data from the South Carolina Election Commission shows the 2020 General Election is record-breaking, even before election day.

At noon on Nov. 2, the commission published new data on where the state stands with absentee voting.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 1,314,000 total absentee ballots have been issued
  • 1,274,000 have been returned (97%)
  • The 1,274,000 returned ballots dwarfs the previous record of 503,000 in the 2016 election
  • 852,000 in-person absentee ballots have been submitted
  • This more than doubles the 2016 record of 370,000
  • 462,000 mail-in ballots were requested with 422,000 ballots returned (91.3% return)
  • In 2016, 147,000 ballots were requested, with 133,000 returned (90.5% return)

The 1.2 million absentee ballots represents 36.7 percent registered voter participation for South Carolina so far (out of 3.4 million registered voters).

The 2016 general election saw 2.1 million South Carolina voters, with a participation rate of 67.9 percent.

The 2018 midterm election saw 1.7 million South Carolina voters, with a participation rate of 50 percent.

As of Oct. 31, Richland County has submitted more than 126 thousand absentee ballots and Lexington County has submitted more than 55 thousand.

On Monday morning, the line at the Richland County Elections and Voter Registration office was roughly one hour for voters hoping to vote absentee last second.

Voter Josh Dunn said he didn’t mind the wait.

“I wanted to be done with it, I’m so ready to be done with it. So that’s why I’m out here, excited, it’s a long wait. But at the end of it I can feel like I’ve done my little piece, and then I can get back to work,” he said.

WIS spoke with voter Gregory Aiken near the end of the one-hour line, and he shared a similar view.

“I’m glad to see the turn-out. I’m absolutely glad to see the turn-out, because we absolutely need a government for the people,” he said.

The highest South Carolina participation rate since 1998 came in 2008, where 76 percent of registered voters cast a ballot in the general election.

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