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South Carolina sees dip in voter turnout for 2022 primary

Richland County elections officials said only 16% of eligible voters showed up at the polls.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — There are 3.3 million citizens voters registered to vote in South Carolina. On Tuesday, the South Carolina Election Commission reported that approximately 16.8% of those voters made it out to the polls for the primary. 

In Richland County, that number was even lower, especially in comparison to previous years. 

“For the primary election, we had almost a 15% turnout, I want to say 14.62%, and that’s about 10% lower than what it was in 2018," said Alexandria Stephens with Richland County Elections and Voter Registration.

RELATED: SC education superintendent primaries end in one runoff, apparent victory in other contest

In past primary election years, voter turnout ranged between 13% and 28% in comparison to the state elections. In November elections, turnout could be more than 60%.

“General elections for Governor, you're around 60 plus percent turnout and president you're around 70 plus percent turnout," said Chris Whitmire with the South Carolina Election Commission.

The president of the South Carolina League of Women Voters said this turnout is disappointing, regardless of the election.

RELATED: Incumbents largely win--with some big exceptions--in South Carolina 2022 Primary Elections

“I think another reason, too, is that we don’t have as many sources of media that we once did," Nancy Williams said. "You know, there was a time when our local newspapers would publish candidate guides."

There are races returning to the ballot in two weeks, races that didn't produce more than a 50% majority. 

There will be runoffs in the race for State Superintendent of Education.

RELATED: SC's Nancy Mace beats back challenge to win GOP primary for U.S. House seat

On the GOP side, Kathy Maness and Ellen Weaver will square off.

The democratic race is less clear. Unofficial results show Lisa Ellis as winner with 50%, but the Associated Press hasn't projected a winner. The vote won't be certified by the state until later in the week.

In the Democratic race for U.S. Senate, Catherine Fleming Bruce and Krystle Matthew will be facing off. 

Early voting for the primary runoff election begins Wednesday, June 22, at 8 a.m.

RELATED: SC's Tom Rice, who voted for Trump impeachment, loses re-election bid

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