Candidates and voters take to the polls on a rainy Election Day

Research shows bad weather plays a role in voter turnout

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Charleston mayoral candidate Leon Stavrinakis and his wife, Anne, shortly after casting their votes in Tuesday's election - DUSTIN WATERS
  • Dustin Waters
  • Charleston mayoral candidate Leon Stavrinakis and his wife, Anne, shortly after casting their votes in Tuesday's election
It’s a soggy Election Day in Charleston as voters brave the weather to select the city’s first new mayor in 40 years.

According to a 2007 study published in the Journal of Politics, bad weather does play a role in voter turnout. When examining U.S. presidential elections, researchers found that voter turnout drops almost 1 percent per each inch of rain on Election Day, and this drop was most hurtful for Democratic candidates or those relying on marginal voters for whom weather may be a determining factor.

While the study only examined presidential elections, co-author of the report and associate professor at the University of California Merced Thomas Hansford said the results of the study have been replicated in other countries and in different types of elections.

Although the rain will definitely play a role in Tuesday’s election, poll workers at Oakland Elementary School in West Ashley said that voter turnout has been slow but steady.

Candidate Leon Stavrinakis and his wife, Anne, came out to Oakland Elementary to cast their votes. Stavrinakis said that he had spent the morning visiting voting precincts and was optimistic that voters would be undeterred by the rain.

“None of us can control the weather, so we’re just going to keep working hard and doing the best we can and hope that there’s as big a turnout as possible,” he said.

Voter Quinteria Mazyck-Wilson said she supports Stavrinakis because of his efforts to pass the Boland Bill, which makes it more difficult for mentally ill individuals to purchase firearms if deemed unfit, and this year’s vote to remove the Confederate battle flag from Statehouse grounds in Columbia. Stavrinakis’ response to what his campaign called “negative attacks” by fellow candidate Ginny Deerin also played a role in Mazyck-Wilson’s decision.

Voter David Nelson said he favored candidate John Tecklenburg, who has largely managed to avoid any confrontation with his fellow candidates during his campaign.

“He’s very pleasant and a good fit for Charleston,” said Nelson. “He’s not contentious like the other candidates.”
Charleston mayoral candidate Ginny Deerin greeted voters Tuesday morning at Bear-E-Patch Cafe in West Ashley - DUSTIN WATERS
  • Dustin Waters
  • Charleston mayoral candidate Ginny Deerin greeted voters Tuesday morning at Bear-E-Patch Cafe in West Ashley

Deerin was joined by her family as she cast her ballot at Drayton Hall Elementary before heading over to the Bear-E-Patch Cafe in West Ashley to greet voters. While her aggressive campaign may have turned off some potential supporters, Deerin was excited by the positive feedback she had received from voters throughout the morning.

“I’m feeling a lot of jittery energy. It feels great,” she said. “I got out of my car and the first person I saw was a stranger and she came over with a big smile and said, ‘I’m going in to vote for you. I know you’re going to win.’ It’s a good way to start the day.”


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