by Sam Spence
Polls opened at 7 a.m. this morning across the state, and already voters are reporting hours-long waits at polling places across the Lowcountry. Historically, presidential elections draw the most voters nationwide, but even after South Carolina election officials reported Monday that they had tallied more absentee votes the day before the election than in all of 2008, voters from Mount Pleasant to Johns Island are queuing up out the door at polling places on a cold and rainy Election Day morning.
Local election officials told the City Paper on Monday that ideal voting times were after the morning rush, from 9-11 a.m. and just before folks get off work from 2-4 p.m., but as of 9 a.m. anecdotal reports sent to the paper and seen on on social media showed long lines at precincts big and small. Officials urged voters to, "Just be patient" as poll volunteers work to accommodate high numbers of voters.
In addition to the presidential election, Charleston-area voters will cast their ballots in close races for state Senate District 41 west of the Ashley River, Charleston County auditor, and contested races for school board downtown, in West Ashley, and North Charleston. All S.C. voters will also vote on a proposed constitutional amendment that would change the way we elect the state lieutenant governor and alter the responsibilities of the largely-ceremonial office.
Forecasts for the area predict that the rain seen Tuesday morning will taper off by mid-afternoon before increasing again toward the end of the day, with temps not expected to leave the upper-50s.
South Carolina polls close at 7 p.m., and while results for local offices will likely be known within a couple of hours, polls in western swing states like Nevada and Colorado won't close until 10 p.m. Eastern time, which means network news talking heads will likely speculate late into the night as results trickle in.