BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (WSAV) – Early voting started Monday in South Carolina.
In Beaufort County, voters lined up early ready to cast their ballots.
“I think this is a major, major election,” said Sue Lawrence a Bluffton voter. “Our president feels that way. I think we all feel that way.”
“I thought it was important to change the administration,” said Sandy Thacker, Beaufort voter.
“I’m just trying to beat the crowd,” said Anna Dinatali voting in Bluffton.
Whatever the reason they came, long lines marked the first day of absentee voting in Beaufort County.
On Hilton Head Island, voters say it took more than a half hour to get to the voting machines.
“We will get you in as soon as possible,” said one poll worker. “We are keeping your distance obviously for coronavirus reasons.”
People there say the wait was worth it.
“It seems to me like there was definitely a fear from the history of votes not quite making it in,” said Carolyn Garwood.
“I want to vote by machine to make sure my vote counts,” said Lynn Bullard.
Even with a month still left to Election Day, Orietha White wasn’t going to let this day pass without registering her vote.
“I was out of state. I drove back into my state to make sure my vote was counted,” said White. “I could not get the information I needed to vote absentee and they weren’t sending it out until later. So I wanted to make sure my vote was counted.”
In Bluffton, the lines wrapped around the building on Ulmer Road. People started lining up there before the polls opened at 9 a.m.
“Just trying to beat the crowd,” said Anna Dinatali. “I was a little surprised at the crowds to be honest with you. Feeling like its November 3.”
In Beaufort, two- to three-hour lines started at 9 am. By the time noon rolled around, the wait was much lower, but the passion among voters remained.
“Any kind of chaos, the doubt, the outcome, the mail in voting,” said Mindy Clark. “All the challenges that are going on this year. I just hope everyone maintains their composureand their reason and we all get through this.”
“We are just going to expect to be this way for the entire month, said Marie Smalls.
Marie Smalls, Beaufort County Board of Elections supervisor, says she was surprised by the number of people who showed up on the first day, but now she believes the rest of the month will continue to see a steady flow of voters.
There are fewer machines, placed at least 6 feet away inside the polling place which means the wait may be a little longer.
But she says everyone coming to vote needs to bring photo identification or a driver’s license and something else.
“Please bring a little bit of patience with you because we are going to have to process one voter at a time,” said Smalls.
If you are a voter in Beaufort County it doesn’t matter where you live, you can go to any of the three absentee polling places, on Hilton Head at 539 William Hilton Parkway, Ulmer Road in Beaufort and John Galt Road in Beaufort.
The offices are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Early voting ends Nov. 2.