Did you vote today? Were you the only one there?


Well, I did, and I was the only voter at the time. I was greatly outnumbered by poll workers, poll greeters, and media. It was 8:41 a.m., and I was the 46th voter to take a Republican ballot. Exactly one person had voted in the Democratic runoff.

Of course, I HAD to take a GOP ballot, having voted Republican two weeks ago. But had I not been wrongly, unfairly forced to do that (you should be able to vote in both primaries, any time), I would have anyway. I don’t think there was anything on the Democratic side other than superintendent of education, and I didn’t have an opinion on that choice. (Had I voted in that, lacking a view of my own, I likely would have accepted The State‘s recommendation and gone with Tom Thompson. As you may know, I generally, but not always, vote a straight State paper ticket.)

Whereas on the GOP side, I not only had superintendent of education and lieutenant governor, but a hotly-contested county council race.

On my way in I did something I don’t usually do, which is reveal how I was going to vote. Chalk it up to that knock on the head the other day; I cracked under questioning. And since I did it in the presence of the press, I’ll share it with you. I stopped to say hey to Tim Dominick from The State — he shot the picture below at my precinct (I hope The State won’t mind my sharing it — here’s the link to where I got it). He was chatting with a lady who urged me to vote for Bill Banning, for county council. Not feeling like being cagey, I said I would.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who read this story, or who otherwise has been paying attention. A key excerpt:

Anti-tax and limited-government groups are helping Tolar…

In other words, Tolar is sort of the tea party option. I mean, seriously. Anybody who thinks taxes are too high in Lexington County is not likely to get my vote.

Anyway, please share your voting experiences today. You don’t have to say how you voted. Unless you want to. And even then, you don’t have to…

Quail Hollow precinct, right before or after I was there. Photo by Tim Dominick of The State; click on it to read the story at thestate.com.

Quail Hollow precinct, right before or after I was there. Photo by Tim Dominick of The State; click on it to read the story at thestate.com.

26 thoughts on “Did you vote today? Were you the only one there?

  1. Chris Burnette

    At 10 AM in West Columbia’s Saluda River precinct, 55 Republicans and 2 Democrats had voted today in the runoff. When I voted in the Prmary on June 10th, 79 Republicans and 14 Democrats had voted by 11:10 AM.

  2. Dave Crockett

    I voted around 9:30 a.m. and was #16 on my side of the ledger. There were two entries on the other side, one probably being my wife (cf my earlier post about us splitting our primary votes).

    And I kept my promise to answer one of the poll workers two weeks ago who hit me with the trivia question, “What party was Davy Crockett affiliated with?” The answer: The American Party (which subsequently became the Whig Party). All present were duly impressed.

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    I voted, with zero other voters, but maybe thirty had ahead of me. I voted for Spearman because Atwater is clearly incompetent, and McMaster, because he could handle being governor, should it come to it, and he’s shown himself to be a decent bureaucrat. This is a compliment.

  4. Karen Pearson

    I voted. I was the only voter there. There had been 7 democrats before me, and 16 republicans.

  5. scout

    Chris, Did you vote at the Lutheran church on 378. I think I am Saluda River precinct too, can’t remember the name off hand for sure. I voted a little after 9 with my husband. We were the only two there at the time and we signed 42 and 43 I think on the Republican paper. There was not even a democratic list started at that point.

    If I had been able to vote in the democratic primary, I would definately have voted for Tom Thompson. I would be very happy if it’s Thompson vs. Spearman. They both seem informed and competent.

    1. Chris Burnette

      Yes, they moved the polling site from Saluda River Arts Academy to the Lutheran Church on 378. I don’t know if that is permanent or just for the primary and the runoff.

  6. susanincola

    I voted at Kilbourne Park Baptist Church at 4:45. 135 Republicans and 6 Democrats had voted when I got there. We’re a small ward, but that’s still pretty light.

  7. Kathleen

    I didn’t vote until after five o’clock. I was #57 on the Republican side and outnumbered by poll workers. I almost didn’t go but figured I’d better if I planned to keep preaching to my children about the importance of voting.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yep, that was a shame. Bill Banning’s a good guy, and he didn’t deserve that.

      But that was the only disappointment I saw yesterday. Overall, a good day in terms of electoral results…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        I’m actually a little surprised at that result. Our part of Lexington County is a pretty moderate one. If you’ll recall, the last time there was a real battle in our House district, the GOP candidates were falling all over themselves to see who could sound like the biggest friend of public schools.

        Of course, the county council district is shaped quite differently from the House district.

        That said, Bill lost worse in his and my precinct — Quail Hollow — than he did overall. His own neighbors voted against him, 58 to 42. Makes me wonder whether there was some recent controversy in my subdivision that I somehow missed.

        Or maybe my neighborhood isn’t quite as moderate as the rest of the House district. I thought it was. We even have some Democrats in our neighborhood — why, one of them walks the neighborhood for exercise regularly, just as bold as brass, without bodyguards or anything. And folks SPEAK to him nicely. You’ve gotta understand, in my county, that makes us way liberal…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Of course, my House district probably isn’t a moderate as it WAS.

          When I went back looking for the link to illustrate my point, I see that it reaches back to when we were in Rick Quinn’s District 69.

          We’re now in Kenny Bingham’s District 89. I haven’t seen a competitive election in this district since we were drawn into it, so I don’t know WHAT sort of political rhetoric would tend to prevail.

          That race I was remembering in 69 was really something. Quinn’s opponents were putting out mailers claiming that he supported vouchers and tax credits for public schools, and they were lambasting him for it. Rick himself had to put out mailers saying there was a “False Attack Campaign Underway” (which should have been “under way,” not one words, but people often get nautical terms wrong) and that he would “NEVER support any scheme that would damage funding for our public schools.”

          1. Doug Ross

            Will you vote for the penny tax in November or abstain due to your contempt for the “will of the people” to be determined at the ballot box?

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              You know what? I haven’t studied what it will be used for. I need to do that. If you’ll recall, I was mainly for the Richland County one because of the buses.

              I’ve got to see whether I think the things they want to spend this one on is worth it. Which means I’ve got to do a bunch of homework I wouldn’t have to do if county officials would just go ahead and raise the tax, and then let us decide whether we want to re-elect them. But I don’t think I can. I think the local option is rigged so that there HAS to be a referendum. It shouldn’t be that way, but there it is.

              You see, unlike all the people who are ANTI-tax, on general principle, I actually have to study to see whether I’m for an individual tax increase. Because, as I’ve told y’all a gazillion times, being always anti-tax or always pro-tax makes zero sense to me. There are taxes that should be raised, and others that should be lowered. There are spending plans that are well-advised, and others that are not. It depends on the situation.

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              Always being against taxes (or always being for them, if you can find anyone like that) is not a philosophy, even though people claim that it is.

              There’s nothing philosophical about it. In fact, it’s sort of the opposite of philosophy. “Philosophy” comes from the Greek for “love of wisdom.” There’s nothing wise in always voting yes or no on a given type of question. It’s as random as saying you’ll always vote yes on bills that come up on Wednesdays, but always no on those that arise on Tuesdays…

            3. Doug Ross

              I’d put the odds on you being against the tax at somewhere around 10000:1. But I’m willing to be surprised.

  8. Silence

    I walked in and voted about 5 PM, there was nobody waiting, and the poll workers asked if I was there to wake them up so they could go home.

  9. Abba

    I voted a little after 6:00 at St. John Neumann church in NE Columbia and, like everywhere else, the voters were outnumbered by the poll workers. I didn’t notice what number I was, but I was curious that no poll worker inquired into whether I had voted in either the Republican or Democratic primaries on June 10, thereby determining which primary I was entitled to vote in on June 24. After they checked my name on their voter list online, they asked whether I wanted to vote in the Republican or the Democratic run-offs. How do they regulate voters who are only supposed to vote in a run-off if they voted in that party’s primary on June 10 (or if they had not voted at all on June 10)? So far as I could tell, the poll workers would have allowed me to vote Democratic on June 24 even if I’d voted Republican on June 10, or vice versa, although that is not supposed to be allowed. Can anyone enlighten me here?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      They are NOT supposed to let you do that. I’m hoping that if you’d asked to vote Democratic in the runoff, they would then have checked, and when they saw that you had voted Republican originally, they would have said no, you can’t vote Democratic today.

      Not that, in the grand scheme of things, that would have been morally wrong — I firmly believe that you should be allowed to vote in BOTH primaries and BOTH runoffs at any time. But that’s not the law, and I believe in obeying the law until it is changed, which is why I say I hope they would have stopped you.

      If not, if they were letting folks who’d voted in Party A’s primary on June 10th to vote in Party B’s runoff, then there probably needs to be an investigation of what went on at your precinct.

      At my precinct, I was told, “You’ll be voting in the Republican runoff, since you voted Republican two weeks ago.” I assume that the record told her that — although there’s always the chance that she remembered, since she’s known me for many years.

      This might be a Richland County problem, though. Maybe in Lexington — where they use a paper voting roll rather than laptops — they have information at their fingertips that the Richland folks don’t have on their laptops. That’s counterintuitive, but two weeks ago, we were hearing about problems with those laptops, or with the poll workers’ ability to USE the laptops properly…

    2. scout

      Now I think about it, I might could have attempted to vote in the democratic runoff. I know they marked it on the paper beside my name last time – I watched the young boy bubble it in, and I watched the lady bubble in the runoff bubble. But there was not any communication that I saw between the lady with the book, and the man who set up my machine. The whole bunch seemed rather low energy and non communicative. I don’t recall the lady asking much either, but rather seeing in the book that I had voted republican before and so offering me the republican roster to sign without saying much. The man at the machine asked me rather disinterestedly “republican?” when I walked up – so I don’t know what would have happened if I’d tried to pull a fast one and say Democratic. I think it was an assumption based on that being what most of the voters in my precinct did. But I could be wrong. Could be they were telepaths. 😉

  10. Doug Ross

    Low information voters voting at precincts run by low information staffers managed by low information election boards. What could go wrong?

  11. susanincola

    I know they looked me up, and told me which roster to sign. Then they gave me a colored slip of paper to give to the person at the voting machine. You got a different color slip depending on which party primary you were voting in. So I don’t think I could have gotten away with switching parties in my ward.

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