MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Voters headed to the polls Tuesday to vote in South Carolina’s primary election runoffs.

Local political watchers said runoff turnout is typically lower. As of about 4 p.m., Sandy Martin, the Horry County voter registration and election director, said there had been about 17,900 votes cast in the county.

Holley Tankersley, the dean of the college of education and social sciences at Coastal Carolina University, said that even though runoff elections generally have a lower turnout, local elections are the ones that matter the most to voters.

She said offices like the state Superintendent of Education, which impact local schools and funding, tend to get voters to the polls more. She said runoffs typically have a lower turnout because people don’t realize there’s a runoff, their candidate may not have made it to the runoff or they may be confused about the rules.

“I would encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to help shape the voices that will be in those positions of leadership in our communities because it really does make a difference,” Tankersley said.