Primary voting under way

  • Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Leslie Cantu/Journal Scene Voters at Stallsville United Methodist.


Journal Scene Staff

Poll managers were still experiencing slow traffic at some polls during the final voting hours of Election Day.

At the Summerville building for Trident Technical College poll managers reported 91 voters by 5 p.m. -- 7.63 percent of the precinct population.

Poll manager Joan Brown said she and other poll managers were surprised by the low number of voters, saying now is the time for people to make a decision.

Voter DeVon Suber said she went the Democratic route, saying her vote included Joyce Dickerson and Montrio Belton. She said she has read a little bit about all the candidates.

“I’m just a little more drawn to them,” she said.

Suber is hoping for candidates who represent the people as opposed to personal agendas.

“I’m looking for some positive changes,” she said, adding she is hopeful more people will vote. “It all depends on participation. I think every opportunity they get folks should vote.”

Incumbent County Councilman David Chinnis’s wife Barbie was at Trident Tech, greeting people at the door and encouraging them to vote for her husband.

“He has worked hard,” she said. “He has done a lot these last three and a half years. The county council is getting stuff done.”

Barbie Chinnis also voted for incumbent Rep. Jenny Horne for Statehouse 94.

“She has been doing a lot of work for children and the DSS,” she said.

Barbie Chinnis said either way the election goes her family will be celebrating when the results are in.

“It’s been a hard race,” she said. “I’ll be glad when it’s over.”

Stallsville United Methodist Church got a surprising turnout according to poll managers: by 6:20 p.m. they had a total of 207 voters, a percentage of 22.22 for the precinct.

Poll manager Mike Scot said usually that precinct only sees about 20 percent of its population.

“Anything over 20 percent is a good deal,” he said. “In the big scheme of things 20 percent isn’t good. We only have about 1,200 people in this precinct.”

Gale Callaway cast his vote via curbside voting. He said he was planning to vote for Horne and Chinnis because of “their track records and some of their campaign promises.”

Kimberly Moock voted for Franklin Smith, one of Horne’s two challengers.

“He believes in a lot of the things my family believes in,” she said.

She also voted for Chinnis and incumbent U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“I like some of their political views,” she said.

Voter turnout appeared to be picking up in precincts along Dorchester Road; however, precincts in the North Charleston area of the county continued to see sporadic turnout.

Poll workers for Windsor 1 and 2 and Lincoln Precincts said turnout had been sporadic throughout the day. As of 5 p.m. 181 voters had cast ballots, representing about 5.6 percent of the voters for those three precincts.

“We haven’t really had a busy time,” Poll Manager Charmaine Jioa said . “There were a couple of times during the day when all the machines were in use, but mostly it’s been stop and go.”

She noted that primary turnouts are traditionally lower, but said she hoped more voters would come in as they got off work.

Jiao also noted that their polls had no problems.

“This is a good group,” she said of her fellow poll workers. “We’ve worked several elections together now.”

Ashborough West and Ashborough West 2 precincts reported nearly 17 percent voter turnout as of about 4 p.m., with some 284 voters casting ballots, noted Poll Manager Hal Verona. While he said the day’s process went smoothly, he did note occasional minor misunderstanding regarding the primary process and the need for voters to declare whether they are voting on one ballot or another.

“It’s not about declaring affiliation with a party; it’s simply choosing which ballot you want to vote,” he said.

Martha Mills noted that she wanted to vote for a candidate for county council on the Republican Party ballot, but because she is a registered Democrat, she felt she had to vote the Democratic Party ballot, not necessarily because of the candidates on the ballot but because of some of the issues they are raising.

“There are some questions being asked – gambling for example,” she said. “A lot of other states have it. If it helps the economy and provides tax dollars, why not have it?”

A number of Republican voters said they saw their ballot as a chance to vote Graham out of office.

“My main reason for voting today is to vote against Lindsey Graham,” Brian Peddicord said. “Mostly his national agenda is too progressive for me.”

John Skerritt, who said he generally votes Republican, also said one of his main reasons for voting today was to vote against Graham.

“I came out because there’s a lot of people trying to get rid of Lindsey Graham, and I’m in favor of that,” Skerritt said. I was in favor of that fifteen years ago.”

Skerritt also said he believes in the idea that one should not complain if one does not vote.

“If you don’t vote, you don’t have an excuse,” he said. “You have to practice your right to vote.”

Poll managers reproted slow but steady turnout at the polls earlier in the afternoon, though Summerville Church of Christ had a bit of a lunchtime rush.

“We’ve actually been pretty steady,” said poll manager Tracey Stice.

Voter John Chavis said he voted to send Sen. Lindsey Graham back to Washington.

“He does a good job,” Chavis said. “He’s experienced. He’s not a straight-line conservative and people have to be flexible. He’s flexible in the right areas.”

Down the road at Grace Lutheran Church, 161 people had voted by 3 p.m.

Poll manager Isabelle Rooney couldn’t pinpoint why it was so slow.

“No interest?” she said. “It could be the heat. They come in spurts.”

And at Beautiful Savior Lutheran, 215 people had voted by 3:30 p.m.

Mary Wood cast her ballot for incumbents County Councilman Jay Byars and Sen. Tim Scott.

She said she voted for Byars because “he’s going to fix the drainage system in my neighborhood.”

Steven Wright, a friend of Byars’ opponent Lester Dempsey, was outside greeting voters.

“Lester has 12 years of volunteer experience,” he said. “He is a citizen representative and he firmly believes in representing the people.”

Although some poll workers reported lines of voters waiting for polls to open this morning, voter turnout remained stubbornly light for most of the precincts along the Dorchester Road corridor between Ashley Phosphate and Trolley Road.

Fort Dorchester Elementary School appeared to have the highest turnout in that area of the county, with some 188 of more than 400 voters registered casting ballots as of around noon today, according to Poll Clerk Tony Piscatella.

He said the precinct had not experienced any problems either in voter dissatisfaction or equipment failure. He also noted that the majority of voters tended to vote Republican ballots.

The story was a little different at Riverbluff Church, which housed Kings Grant 1 and 2 precincts. However, the issues that did crop up were quickly solved, Poll Clerk Randy Busse said.

“We had one of seven machines working when the polls opened this morning, but we quickly got them up and running,” he said.

Then one voter said they could not find Larry Hargett, candidate for SC House Seat 98, on the ballot; shortly after that, Hargett himself appeared to lodge a complaint, Busse said. He said he could not say how or why that might have happened, whether it was voter confusion, a mistake on the part of a pollworker, or equipment failure. Whatever the reason, he said he was able to resolve the issue satisfactorily.

“I was able to show Mr. Hargett that his name was on the ballot and the individual voter voted a challenge ballot, “ Busse said. “Everyone seemed to be satisfied with the solutions.”

Dorchester County Elections and Voter Registration Director Joshua Dickard said there was some confusion at Kings Grant because the precinct is split, so voters in the same precinct are voting in different races.

Kings Grant 1 and 2 precincts were showing 7.48 percent voter turnout as of around noon, he said.

At Oakbrook Elementary School, which housed Oakbrook precincts 1 and 2, turnout was light, with about 59 people casting votes – about 1.82 percent of voters registered to those precincts -- as of noon, but the process seemed to be going smoothly, with no issues reported with machines or ballots.

Johnny and Jeannette Brooks, who voted in the precinct, said they had no problems at all.

“It was simple, fast moving, very convenient,” Johnny Brooks said. “We voted Democrat. We just hope to get the right people in there to get this economy back on track.”

However, next door at Oakbrook Elementary School, where voters from Tranquil 1 and Tranquil 2 precincts voted, the turnout was light, but with three different ballot styles, there apparently was a little confusion among voters, Poll Clerk Paul Werksman said.

As of noon, between 2.5 and 3.7 percent of the voters registered in those precincts had cast ballots, he said.

At Spann Elementary, poll worker Lloyd Ivey said traffic was “slow but steady.”

“I’m surprised more people aren’t showing up to vote,” he said. “It’s a cherished right that we have that you should take advantage of.”

At the Coastal Center, 202 people had voted by 1:50 p.m., or just more than 6 percent of registered voters.

Dorchester County Councilman David Chinnis’s daughter Meagan was there doing some last-minute campaigning for her dad.

Primary Voting Under Way

Leslie Cantu


Primary voting has begun in Dorchester County.

Voting appears to have gotten off to a slow start. Poll workers at Dorchester Presbyterian Church said they expected somewhat more voters than they had gotten by about 7:30.

Poll workers at Stallsville Methodist Church said they’d gotten a “slow trickle” of voters.

Some polling places have been changed.

Voters in the Clemson, Clemson 2 and Clemson 3 precincts will vote at Reevesville Elementary instead of DuBose Middle. The two schools share a parking lot.

Board of Elections and Voter Registration Director Joshua Dickard said that was a last-minute change when election officials realized DuBose had ongoing construction and no available restrooms.

And voters in the Germantown, Dorchester and Dorchester 2 precincts are voting at St. John the Beloved instead of Bethany United Methodist. Continue checking journalscene.com today for updates on Primary Day.

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