Small percentage of voters turnout for municipal elections to make BIG decisions

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- 40 South Carolina counties will hold at least one election Tuesday. As a result, thousands of voters will hit the polls to make important decisions for their city, county, or town.

The elections that will decide city and county council members and ultimately how you live day to day.

Professor Robert Oldendick at the University of South Carolina outlined some of the important decisions made in municipal elections.

“If you sit down for 2 minutes and think about what’s going to effect your daily life tomorrow is it when you get your garbage collected, real estate taxes, how quickly a policeman is able to respond if you have a problem…”

One can argue the municipal election is the most important election when it comes to decisions directly impacting your neighborhood.

“Those ordinances those council members and mayors past you have to live by them everyday,” added Chris Whitmire with the SC Election Commission.

But municipal elections also hold lower voter turnout.

Whitmire continued highlighting takeaways from previous elections. In a presidential election, about 70% of the state’s voter turn out to the polls. About half of SC voters cast a ballot in the gubernatorial elections; however, in municipal elections only 10%-20% of voters show up to the polls.

Oldendick said participation in municipal elections is key and the less participation means fewer people making the decisions for YOU.

“You get the quality of representation that you deserve. If you let 15% of the people make a decision for who’s going to be your mayor or city council then that’s the representation you’re going to get.”

In addition to the general elections, several municipalities also have elections for referendums and seats for certain boards. For example, voters in Pickens County will decide if alcohol should be sold on Sundays.

McCormick, Union, Lee, Edgefield, Dillon and Marion counties do NOT have elections on Tuesday.

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