This year’s midterm elections are seeing a record number of absentee voting across the state of South Carolina.
As of last week, the state saw more than 15,000 more absentee ballots than in 2014, and those rates are reflecting with in-person voting in the Beaufort County.
On Monday, Oct. 15th, the county counted about 450 ballots, 333 of which were out of the Bluffton office.
“I’m expecting today we probably see close to 400 people in the Bluffton office by itself,” Beaufort County’s Board of Voter Registration and Elections Director Marie Smalls said Tuesday.
“On the first day of absentee voting in the Bluffton office, we experienced a little over a hundred voters, which is… unusual because it was the first day, and in our office, we saw about half that,” Smalls said. “But since the 2nd and the third day, it’s just been doubled, triple in the Bluffton office.”
In South Carolina, you have to meet one of 17 criteria for early absentee voting including work, vacation, and medical reasons.
“I’m going to be having surgery, so I want to go ahead and get my vote counted,” Beaufort resident Pamela Brandon said Tuesday.
In this midterm, residents are not only voting for county offices, but governor, house representatives, and tax increases to name a few. Those voting absentee Tuesday said they’re casting a ballot because they don’t like what they’re seeing in politics across the country.
“At the rate things are going right now, we need to vote, to have our view shared, so that’s one of the main reasons why I’m voting,” said William Ledson.
“I’m sort of unhappy with the way things are going and I wanted my vote to be counted,” Glade Whittwer said.
Whatever the reason, Smalls says absentee voting is to make sure every vote gets counted.
“We just want to make sure that there are avenues for everyone to exercise their right to vote and having the precincts open up early, they can do that in person, or they can do it by mail,” she said.
If you meet the criteria for absentee voting, the Bluffton (61 Ulmer Rd) and Beaufort (15 John Galt Rd) offices are open Monday through Friday until Nov. 5 and on Saturday on Nov. 3.
For more information, call 843-255-6900 or visit here.