Early voting opportunities expand in Florence County as voters face a packed ballot

Elections

FLORENCE COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Election day is eight days away, but long lines of voters cast ballots in the Pee Dee Monday.

Satellite voting locations began Monday at libraries in Timmonsville, Johnsonville, Pamplico and Lake City.

There was quite a line of voters around noon in Lake City.

“I enjoyed having the opportunity to vote in Lake City,” voter Rosalind McFadden said. “And it gives me the opportunity to not have to be in a rush during the general election especially when I have to work.”

Some voters said they were sitting in line for over two hours.

“Really need to open a lot of other precincts to help people out that want to vote to do it much quicker, without having to stand out in the little chilly weather today,” voter Mac Weatherford said.

The satellite locations are open through Friday for absentee in-person voting. Voters can still go to the main office on Third Loop Road to cast a ballot, too.

As of noon Monday, 865,000 total ballots had been returned statewide.

Florence County voters face a number of choices. A penny tax referendum, mayor’s race for city residents and a sheriff race.

You’ll see TJ Joye (R) and Darrin Yarborough’s (D) name on the ticket.

“We got to have more deputies on the road for service calls, patrol,” Joye said. And also body cameras… Investigators. We got a lot more things we need to get done. But it didn’t get in this shape overnight and it wont be fixed overnight.”

Joye said a vote for him is a vote for ‘transparency, change and integrity.’ He’s currently head of school security and athletic director, along with head football coach at Carolina Academy in Lake City. He’s a longtime veteran of SC Highway Patrol and worked for the FCSO patrol division for a few years in the 1980s. He retired from SCHP in 2015 as a lieutenant and executive officer over Troop 5. He said he’s wanted to be sheriff for many years.

“I really want the challenge,” he said. “It is going to be a challenge. But I want to work for the people of Florence County.”

Meanwhile, Yarborough said he would be accessible as sheriff.

“That’s one of the things I’ve always been pushing is accessibility,” he said. “As your next sheriff I want you to be able to contact me. I want you to be able to express your concerns, especially in your particular neighborhoods you’re in.”

Yarborough is another who has had a long career in law enforcement. He’s worked as a CO in Florence, been a patrol officer with FPD and eventually several roles within FCSO, including criminal investigator. He also served as deputy director of the detention center. He is currently a range officer at Blue Line Shooting Range and a Corporal at Latta PD. He also placed emphasis on the need for body cameras and ramping up the patrol division.

“Administration. That’s key. That’s key to the whole operation of the sheriff’s office,” he said. “I want to make sure that people understand we’re pushing victims first. A lot of times the victims get lost in the court systems. And I don’t want that to happen.”

Florence County election officials say they’re getting more machines and people out in an effort to decrease wait times. If you’re expecting a mail-in ballot and have not gotten it yet, you should contact the voter registration and elections office.

For more information on absentee voting in South Carolina, head here.

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