S.C. Election Commission

South Carolina is approaching half the total record turnout it saw in 2016 from absentee ballots alone with a little less than a week until the polls close for good. In total, nearly a third of registered voters in the state have already cast ballots in the 2020 presidential election.

In 2016, 2.1 million votes cast marked record turnout for a South Carolina election. Absentee numbers so far total 1,013,000 — half the 2016 total — according to the latest data from the South Carolina Election Commission. There are 3,486,879 registered voters in the state.

And, they’re still coming in quickly: The noon Wednesday update showed a 35,500 ballot increase compared to 5 p.m. Tuesday, with more than 107,000 new ballots returned since close of business Monday.

Charleston County voters can cast their votes early in-person now through Saturday and Monday at four locations. On election day, the polls will be open as usual 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Find your absentee ballot and voting information at scvotes.gov.

The continued surge of absentee ballots comes after polling released Tuesday suggested those who have already cast votes may favor Democrats.

A new survey from the progressive-aligned Data for Progress showed that 58 percent of people who have already voted cast a ballot for Joe Biden, though the former vice president still lags President Donald Trump among voters overall.

Of those who have voted, 57 percent reported voting for Jaime Harrison, but that contest remains close, tied at 46 percent with Constitution Party candidate Bill Bledsoe pulling 3 percent support. Five percent of voters remain undecided in that contest.

In Charleston County, 132,389 absentee ballots have been mailed to voters as of noon, nearing the 149,000 total votes cast in the 2018 midterm elections. About 90 percent of issued ballots have been returned so far.

In Charleston, U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham is in a close race for his reelection against outgoing Republican state Rep. Nancy Mace. Jaime Harrison could also be buoyed by increased turnout in heavily Democratic areas like Charleston County, which has voted for Democratic presidential candidates since 2008 and has seen more than 65,000 new voters register since 2016.

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