Grand Strand ahead of Pee Dee in early voter turnout as S.C. casts one million absentee ballots

Elections

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) – Almost one-third of registered voters in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee have already cast their ballots nearly a week before Election Day.

This comes as South Carolina reached more than one million absentee votes Wednesday.

As Horry County voters waited more than two hours at the South Strand Recreation Center, Jessica Dill and her family wanted to help those standing or sitting in line by setting up cases of water to keep everyone cool.

“Yes, the lines can be a little long, but it’s absolutely worth it to get your voice out there,” said Dill. “I, too, waited for two hours and it’s very hot with your mask. Everybody’s sweating, there’s a lot of people out here without chairs and people with canes and walkers. I just thought it would be the right thing to do.”

The line wasn’t a surprise, considering how many people have already voted in Horry County. As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the state election commission reports 83,910 absentee ballots have been cast in the county.

That’s more than four times higher than the county’s 19,444 early votes in the 2016 general election.

“I thought I’d be saving time instead of Election Day, but I don’t think that’s the case,” said Jeff Musiker, a voter from Murrells Inlet. “I’m thrilled to see a big turnout.”

In the Pee Dee, Marlboro and Darlington counties aren’t too far behind, with nearly one out of three voters casting absentee ballots. Dillon County is lagging significantly behind the statewide turnout of about 30.14%.

County2016 Absentee Ballots Counted2020 Absentee Ballots Returned So Far2020 Registered Voters2020 Voter Turnout So Far
Darlington7,48414,03644,80331.33%
Dillon1,9374,67519,58923.87%
Florence16,46426,04990,98828.63%
Georgetown9,27017,37746,92237.03%
Horry19,44483,910251,88533.31%
Marion3,5656,86423,14729.65%
Marlboro4,5435,94118,30332.46%
S.C. Average502,8191,051,0693,486,87930.14%
Source: South Carolina Election Commission (as of 5 p.m. on Oct. 28, 2020)

The seven Grand Strand and Pee Dee counties have a combined 495,637 registered voters. The state election commission’s count says 158,852 absentee votes have been cast in those counties, putting the area’s turnout at 32.05% already.

In a pandemic with two highly contested races with national impact, which are the ones for President and U.S. Senate in South Carolina, voters say this year is about patience.

“I’m waiting it out, no matter how long it takes,” said Frank Perkins. “I’m staying and I brought my chair. We figured we’ll get our vote cast, then we’ll sit back and watch the results on Tuesday.”

“I thought maybe it would be fewer people, a little less crowded, so that we wouldn’t have to worry about the pandemic, but we are equipped that way too with our masks,” said Debbie Perkins.

South Carolina’s 1,051,069 early votes are also nearly half (49.5%) of the 2,123,584 total ballots cast in 2016.

County2016 Total Votes Cast (Early Vote and Election Day)2020 Absentee Ballots Returned So FarPercent of 2016 Vote Already Cast in 2020
Darlington29,90114,03646.94%
Dillon11,7974,67539.63%
Florence58,43326,04944.58%
Georgetown32,05117,37754.22%
Horry134,22883,91062.51%
Marion14,4166,86447.61%
Marlboro10,4915,94156.63%
S.C. Average2,123,5841,051,06949.50%
Source: South Carolina Election Commission (as of 5 p.m. on Oct. 28, 2020)

If you live in Horry County, click here to learn about the absentee voting process. You can also find links below to the elections boards for voting information in all of News13’s counties:

You can also go to scvotes.gov or ncsbe.gov for more voter info.

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