Thursday, June 19, 2014
Not everyone can vote in the Republican and Democratic primary runoffs Tuesday, June 24.
Who can vote in a primary runoff?
“If you did not vote at all in the (June 10) primary, you can go to the polls and vote in either runoff,” Berkeley County Elections Director Adam Hammond said.
But if you did vote on June 10, you can only vote in the runoff of the party you originally voted in, he said.
Aside from that, a primary runoff is just like any other election. Poll hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and polls will open at their regular election locations.
With what Hammond described as a “disappointing” 17 percent turnout in the county and 15 percent turnout statewide, runoff candidates are encouraging anyone who may not have voted in the primary to vote June 24.
The primary’s turnout was low even by the county’s non-presidential primary standards. In 2010, the primary attracted 24 percent of registered voters. About 19 percent voted in the ensuing runoff.
In 2006, 19 percent of voters took part in the primary, and 17 percent in the runoff. Since that time, nearly 30,000 registered voters have been added in the county, according to Hammond.
“I was surprised; I expected between 20 and 25 percent (turnout),” Hammond said.
But the silver lining is that voters turned out better than the state average of 15 percent.
Hammond said voter apathy is a problem all over. But he pointed to the recent Republican primary win by Charleston Rep. Chip Limehouse, who secured the nomination by little more than 40 votes. In Berkeley County, District 5 incumbent Councilman Dennis Fish beat out his challenger by less than 200 votes.
The runoff is expected to grab an even smaller portion of the voting population.
“Your one vote can really sway the outcome when you’re talking on the local level,” Hammond said. “These are elections that, in my opinion, have a really direct effect on the voter.”