Weather, Lack of Choices Staunch Turnout
Primary election day got off to a slow start in West Ashley, and turnout is expected to remain low.
Charleston County voters in West Ashley don't have much to weigh in on for today's ballot.
The only race in either party's primary that matters is for Charleston County auditor between incumbent Peggy Moseley and challengers Paul Gawrych and David Engleman.
As of 10:50 a.m. Charleston County Court of Common Pleas Judge Deardra Jefferson had not issued a ruling in the case brought by George Tempel against Paul Thurmond's candidacy for the S.C. Senate District 41 race, so heading into election day he remained an eligible candidate as far as the Charleston County Board of Elections and Registration is concerned, according to Executive Director Joe Debney.
Off and on rains during the morning have stymied turnout at many precincts.
"Unfortunately that tends to discourage people from voting," Debney said.
Debney added that election officials expected a low voter turnout today in part because of the rain, and in part because of the confusion over which candidates remain on the ballot. Debney said he doesn't expect the voter turnout today to exceed more than a few percent.
Early in the day only a handful of voters had cast ballots at several West Ashley precincts, and in one precinct, St. Andrews 19 at Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary School, no one had come in to cast a ballot as of 10 a.m.
Recent S.C. Supreme Court decisions have removed dozens of candidates from ballots statewide, including several in Charleston County from both the Republican and Democratic parties. The result has been that in the West Ashley area no races are contested on the Democratic side, and the only contested race on the Republican side is that for county auditor.
Along with Thurmond, both Wally Burbage and Sean Pike appear on the ballot, but Poll Managers have been telling voters that votes cast for anyone other than Thurmond in that race will not be counted because both Pike and Burbage were deemed inelligible following a court case out of Florence County. The timing of the decision was such that the ballots had already been set prior to Pike and Burbage being decertified, and the BEVR did not have time to remove them prior to the election.
Should Judge Jefferson rule in favor of the plaintiff, George Tempel in the case against Thurmond's candidacy, votes cast for Thurmond will not count either. Tempel's wife Carol Tempel was one of the candidates who found themselves decertified following the S.C. Supreme Court's decision in the Florence County case. He is also the former Chair of the Charleston County Democratic Party.