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No lines and no trouble reported at Richland County polls on primary election day

Voter turnout was slim at voting locations in Richland County Tuesday morning and early afternoon.
Credit: becky budds

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Many of the voting locations in Richland County and across the midlands appeared deserted for much of Tuesday morning and afternoon with a select few eventually having a trickle of foot traffic around mid-to-late morning.

Richland County Elections Director Alexandria Stephens said there were no major issues at polling locations. 

According to Stephens as of Tuesday afternoon about 3% of Richland County Voters cast their ballot. About 3% cast their ballot early. 

"I know, the weather got bad for a little while, and I'm pretty sure that probably slow some people down," said Stephens. 

Executive director for the state election commission Chris Whitmire tells News 19 one polling location in Richland County and a few in Lexington County experienced power outages earlier in the day, but it was quickly restored.

"All the equipment does have battery backup for several hours, said Whitmire. "If it went so long to where the battery where the battery started going out, then you would switch to paper, voter registration list and paper ballots." 

While the sever weather may have affected voter turnout, Whitmire explains it's not unusual to have fewer voters in non-presidential election years. 

"We know that turnout in statewide primaries ranges from as low as 14% in some years to up to no higher than 27%, looking at the past 15 to 20 years," said Whitmire. "Relative to our other statewide elections, statewide primaries are the generally the lowest turnout elections."

Stephens explained making sure voter machines were working was a top priority. 

"We have polling location technicians, assigned to zones so they go around checking, make sure you know, precincts don't have any issues, and we can also monitor it from downtown to see if everyone is connected or not," said Stephens. 

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