© 2024 South Carolina Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
SC Public Radio is currently experiencing major technical difficulties. Our engineering team is actively investigating the matter to identify and resolve the issue as swiftly as possible. Please be assured we are prioritizing this outage and working diligently to restore full functionality to SC Public Radio. We will keep you updated on the progress and provide further information once the issue has been resolved.

Here's what voter turnout looked like for South Carolina's primary elections

Last week more than 238,000 people voted early across South Carolina and nearly 38,000 mail-in absentee ballots were returned. This is the first general election in our state with early voting thanks to the massive bi partisan election integrity bill Republican and Democratic lawmakers passed in May.
Element5 Digital
/
Unsplash
Last week more than 238,000 people voted early across South Carolina and nearly 38,000 mail-in absentee ballots were returned. This is the first general election in our state with early voting thanks to the massive bi partisan election integrity bill Republican and Democratic lawmakers passed in May.

With the South Carolina Democratic and Republican primaries in the rearview, the state’s election commission is boasting of a successful primary season with 889,000 total votes cast.

Despite the fact that voter registration is down, a record number of voters turned out for the South Carolina Republican Presidential primary. According to the South Carolina Election Commission, 757,000 ballots were cast for a 23% voter turnout. This breaks the record previously set by the 2016 Republican Presidential primary.

Former President Donald Trump received 60% of the vote this year, with 451,905 ballots cast in his favor. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley received 40%, totaling 298,674 votes.

Candidates Ryan Binkley, Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, and David Stuckenburg, some of whom were certified to be on the ballot but have dropped out of the race, also received a portion of the votes..

Although she has yet to win a state during the GOP primary, Haley has no plans of dropping out of the race anytime soon.

“He's not going to get that 40% if he's going and calling out my supporters and saying they're ‘barred permanently from MAGA,’” Haley said, referencing Trump's comments directed at anyone who funded her campaign. “He's not going to get the 40% by calling them names.”

The numbers for the GOP primary stand in contrast with the Democratic one earlier this month, where 132,000 ballots were cast for a 4% turnout.

This was far below turnout levels for previous elections: in 2020, 540,000 or 16% of voters participated, and in 2016, 373,063 more than 12% cast ballots in the primary election.

Columbia voter Lee Monk, 76, said she voted in the Democratic primary to show the rest of the country that South Carolina cares.

"Obviously, there's no real contest, so I didn't need to vote. But I show up every time they open the door anyway," Monk said. "But I want the rest of the country, and the world to know, that we care about this here. We're not all Trumpers."

James Smith, the political action officer for the Columbia branch of the National Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said there were multiple reasons why turnout was down for the Democratic primary. He spoke with around 25 people who said either they did not know about the primary, or they planned to vote for Biden in the general election, so they did not feel the need to vote in the primary.

Marcus Flowers is an award-winning content producer who specializes in various topics.