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Turnout slips for SC's primaries

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — About the same number of people voted in this year’s South Carolina Republican primary as voted in the last midterm primary in 2018. But Democrats had about 60,000 fewer voters in their primary this year, according to state Election Commission data.

Final turnout for Tuesday’s vote was about 17% of registered voters, or 564,000 ballots cast out of 3.3 million registered voters in South Carolina.

Republicans maintained their turnout level in 2022 despite a governor’s race that wasn’t nearly as competitive as Gov. Henry McMaster’s race in 2018.

Democrats had competitive governor races in both 2018 and 2022. Just under 181,000 votes were cast in the party’s race for governor this year, some 60,000 fewer ballots than four years earlier.

The turnout in Florence County exceeded the state’s average of 17 percent. Florence County showed a 21% voter turnout with 17,923 of the 84,826 registered voters casting their ballots.

Darlington County’s voter turnout was 20.6% with 8,537 of the county’s 41,342 registered voters going to the polls.

The most votes cast in a mid-term June primary remains in 2010, when more than 623,000 votes were cast. It also remains the heaviest Republican turnout.

Primaries always have low turnout compared to general elections. In 2020, 72% of South Carolinians — some 2.5 million voters — cast ballots in November when the president and other candidates were on the ballot.

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