January 19th, 2008
10:29 AM ET
14 years ago

Low turnout reported in South Carolina

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) –– Three hours into voting, the South Carolina State Election Commission reports that turnout has been low "across the board" for today's Republican primary here.

"All the reports I've received from various counties is that turnout has been light," said commission spokesman Chris Whitmire.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. throughout the state, where cold, rainy weather may be a factor in slowing turnout.

But Whitmire said that since state elections are usually held on a Tuesday, it's difficult to discern any pattern.

"On a normal election day, there is a rush in the morning before work, but we don’t have that phenomenon since it’s a Saturday," he said. "It's hard to tell on a Saturday when it's going to be convenient for any one person."

Fred Thompson's campaign manager Bill Lacy said in an e-mail to supporters Saturday that "it's not exactly warm but it beats the snowstorm we had in Washington on Thursday."

One dedicated Republican precinct in Lancaster County, a Charlotte suburb where light snow is expected later today, did report unusually high turnout. Thirty voters, all of whom came from a local retirement community, showed up within the first half hour of voting.

But a polling station in conservative Lancaster County, CNN's Mary Snow reported only about two dozen people had cast their votes after one hour of voting.

In the Upstate city of Anderson, one Mike Huckabee supporter cast her vote despite the chilly temperatures.

"We are concerned about the weather but we can't control it," said Mary Mills. "I'm an evangelical and I voted my conscience."

At the same polling station, Huckabee told reporters he is concerned about the weather in that part of the state, which is home to many of South Carolina's evangelical voters who make up his base.

"If it starts snowing up there, that's something we hoped wouldn't happen," he said. "I just hope that our voters are so committed that it doesn't affect the fact that they are going to vote because it's a mission they have to deal with today."

- CNN's Peter Hamby, Mary Snow, and Eric Fiegel

Filed under: South Carolina primary
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Jeremiah Grant, Phoenix, AZ

    WAKE UP REPUBLICANS! – McAmnesty IS NO CONSERVATIVE. Just look at the exit polls. He can't win conservative voters. How on earth is that supposed to excite the base in November?

    I find it laughable that John says "I know how to fix borders. I'm from a border state." Huh? If you know how to fix them, why haven't you done anything about them? More illegals cross into the US in AZ than any other state in the nation.

    He flipped his finger to the 1st Amendment with that garbage McCain-Feingold legislation he wrote with the Left

    He co-authored the biggest amnesty bill ever with that drunk from the left.....but now wants to flip-flop on that and play word games.

    He voted against the federal ban on gay marriage.

    He voted against the Bush tax cuts twice...but now wants to flip-flop on that issue as well.

    He cost the GOP control of the Senate with that despicable Gang of 14 crap. He wants to tell you how he'll put conservative judges in place and yet he was the ring leader of the very undoing of Bush's attempts to put conservative judges in place.

    Again I say, McAmnesty is no true conservative. The GOP can't trust him. Go Huckabee!!!!

    January 19, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. Angela

    ""it is only the first day" … huh?

    Ron Paul is a proven racist and hatemonger. Oh, wait, that's right, he had no idea that his newsletter which was pout out for years was saying the things that it was. Give me a break. Even without that, his ideas, while interesting, are flawed."

    Another Victory for the MainStream Media. We Report, you conform. You got that down pat there, Phil.

    Open your eyes, look at the ISSUES and the WAY HE VOTES, his record will tell you everything. Not the News.

    Did you know that he is against the War on Drugs, largely because it unfairly targets Poor and Colored people?

    Yeah, real bigot. It's easy to say whatever you want, its called a rumor. However, you can't dispute the way he votes – and that is fact.

    January 19, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. David - Oregon City

    America is very thankful to those voters of South Carolina that got out and supporting Mike Huckabee today. It most likely will set the stage for the rest of America to elect Mike Huckabee, President of The United States. Thank you South Carolina!

    January 19, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  4. Adam Smith

    McCain is for amnesty for illegal aliens and the outsourcing of American jobs. He is just as liberal as ted kennedy. Whatever you do dont vote for this liberal democrat in a republican costume.

    January 19, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. Georgiaguy

    Record low turnout in all Republican contests, despite a highly competitive contest among the GOP candidates, spells one thing: disaster in the general election unless things change. All the Democratic nominee has to do is tie the Republican nominee to George Bush's disastrous Presidency and watch him lose bigger than Bob Dole in 1996 or Barry Goldwater in 1964. I am sure that clips will surface of any nominees kind words about the dumbest President ever. Name one achievement. As a teacher, No Child Left Behind was all about standardized testing without funds to make real changes. Iraq, New Orleans, collapse of the nation's infrastructure, tax cuts for the rich, huge deficits, Scooter Libbey justice, the rape of the US Constitution, politicalization of the Justice Department, and other failures point to Republican collapse everywhere, but the Deep South.

    January 20, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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