Aiken County Board of Elections expecting to surpass 2012 absentee voter turnout

With less than a week left before Election Day, WJBF NewsChannel 6 is taking a close look at the 25 percent increase in absentee voting since the last Election.
With less than a week left before Election Day, WJBF NewsChannel 6 is taking a close look at the 25 percent increase in absentee voting since the last Election.

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – South Carolinians are setting absentee voting records.

Despite a long list of qualifications that Palmetto State voters must meet, in order to vote absentee, they are turning out to vote in massive numbers.

In Aiken County the Board of Elections Director is expecting a 5 percent increase from the last Presidential Election.

The Palmetto State has yet to join the early voting movement, but it’s a convenience voters say they would like to see in South Carolina..

“The opportunity to go and vote on Sunday’s is a big deal for the African-American community and we are doing everything we can to try to get that back, through legislative action.” Harold Crawford, Jr., Aiken County Democratic Party Chairman said.

To cast an absentee ballot voters in South Carolina have to fall into 1 of 15 categories and must present valid proof at their county Board of Elections.

While the list is extensive, the absentee numbers in the CSRA’s 8 South Carolina counties, show those requirements aren’t keeping people from practicing their civil duties.

Especially in Aiken County where the line to vote on Wednesday was out the door.

“Boy with all the other categories,” said Former Aiken County Republican Party Chairman K.T. Ruthven, “if you can’t meet one of them. It’s pretty hard.”

In the last election 15,000 people voted absentee in Aiken County, already more than 14,000 have filed an absentee ballot in this election.

Historically, early voting puts the Democratic presidential candidate in the lead. However, in this election political activists feel the voter turnout is due to the American people wanting the negative campaigning to end.

“Is that maybe impacting some of the votes?” Asked WJBF NewsChannel 6’s Stefany Bornman.

“I think so, but in both ways,” Ruthven told WJBF NewsChannel 6. “Some people are so angry that they are going out and voting for their candidate or against the other candidate that they just don’t want to see in office.”

“I think the bitterness that has risen during this election cycle, has far surpassed the bitterness in previous cycles.” Crawford said.

To vote absentee you must fill out an application at your local Board of Elections by Friday, November 4th.

You can vote in person at the Board of Elections until Monday, November 7th.

Mail-in absentee ballots must be in by Election Day on Tuesday, November 8th.

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