The difference between voting Republican or Democratic in my precinct (and yours, if you’d like to look it up)

Sample GOP

On that last post, Jeff Mobley weighed in thoughtfully, and mentioned that you can go view a sample ballot for your polling place at

So I went and did that, in order to illustrate the difference between choosing a Democratic or Republican primary ballot in my precinct, Quail Hollow.

As you can see above, I get to make some significant electoral decisions if I choose a Republican ballot. As you see below, all I’d get to do on a Democratic ballot is choose who is going to lose to Joe Wilson in the fall.

For some loyal Democrats, that is enough, as my longtime colleague Rick Temple suggested on Facebook:

This is a good year for Lexington County Democrats to vote in the their party’s primary because of the 2nd Congressional District race. One of the candidates, Arik Bjorn, is actually a Democrat. The other, Phil Black, is a Republican who has admitted he is running as a Democrat because he knows he has no chance against Joe Wilson in the Republican primary.

The ephemeral abstract rewards of such a quixotic gesture, however, escape me, in part because I don’t care who is a real Democrat and who is not, but mostly because neither of them will be going to Congress.

That makes the decision very easy.

If you live in Richland County, of course, you likely have the opposite situation, and should choose a Democratic ballot tomorrow, as our Republican friend Jeff plans to do…

sample Dem

17 thoughts on “The difference between voting Republican or Democratic in my precinct (and yours, if you’d like to look it up)

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Nope, that’s it. You’ll never see endorsements after the Sunday before a Tuesday vote.

      As for “quiet” — that’s not it, really. I think those were all Cindi could find time to do. Awesome and hard-working as she is, there’s just one of her. So she had to choose, and I think she chose well.

      I’d like to have seen endorsements in Katrina Shealy’s primary, and the one to replace Kenny Bingham in Lexington. And in Richland, the Senate races between John Scott and Torrey Rush, and Darrell Jackson and Wendy Brawley.

      But you can’t have everything…

  1. Scout

    Thanks! I have the same ballots as you.

    This is a related question.

    What the heck do the clerk of court and register of deeds do? And why are they elected?

    From the names of the positions, I would guess they are rather clerical jobs where a certain experience and skill set/expertise would be important. Seems like they are implementing what’s on the books, not setting policy. I’m wondering why we don’t just have criteria for qualifications for these positions and just hire them if qualified. I would assume being a democrat or republican wouldn’t make much difference in a job like this.

    But maybe I’m wrong about what they do? Does anybody know?

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        For no good reason.

        It’s because it’s politically very, very hard to take a decision away from voters.

        Of COURSE such ministerial positions should be filled by the county administrator go out and make a merit-based hiring decision. But once the voters get to pick something, that tends to be the way it’s done forever.

        Unless I know of a serious problem with a candidate, I don’t even vote in those races…

      2. Bob Amundson

        The function of a court clerk is to assist in the administration of the court to ensure it runs smoothly. The register of deeds records real estate transactions. The only good reason I can see these are elected positions is that this is the way it has always been done. That’s reason enough in many places.

      3. Bryan Caskey

        The Clerk of Court is the person at the courthouse who makes sure all the papers I send them related to lawsuits (motions, pleadings, judgments) are filed correctly.

        The Register of Deeds is the person at the courthouse who makes sure all the papers I send them related to real estate (deeds, mortgages) are filed correctly.

        The chief characteristic I want is someone who’s organized. I can’t imagine why it’s an elected position. I can’t think of a single policy-making aspect of the job.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          “The chief characteristic I want is someone who’s organized.”

          I resemble that remark. So you’re saying you wouldn’t vote for me for either job? Harrumph.

          I assure you I’d keep your documents safe. They’d be on my desk somewhere…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Actually, I’m one of those apparently disorganized people who can put my hands on something pretty quickly when others can’t.

            Of course, that’s more related to my being a packrat, and having a pretty fair memory for what I did with things, than to organizational skills.

            When Paula Ellis was managing editor at The State long ago, when I was still in the newsroom (and when everything existed on paper — we’re talking early 90s), and she wanted to find some old memo or press release from a year or so back, she never looked for it herself — she just asked me. That’s because she knew that I kept everything, and could put my hands on it within a minute or two. Good thing not everyone knew that about me or I’d have had little time to do anything else…

          2. Scout

            Well I am equally unqualified then. Must be an NP thing. My piles are chronologically stacked. It’s kind of like an archaeological dig to find things. And I do generally know where to look.

            However, I’m far better at keeping up with stuff that is digital vs. actual paper. Assuming I don’t, say, lose the flashdrive or forget what I called the file.

            um, nevermind. I’ll keep my current job.

      4. doug ross

        If they weren’t elected, there is a fairly high probability that some relative of a politician would get the job. And would be set for life no matter what they did

        1. Bob Amundson

          The Clerk of the Court, Ms. McBride, is married to Frank McBride. Google Frank McBride and Lost Trust and see what you find.

          1. Doug Ross

            Ugh. Is there no part of Richland County government that ISN’T tainted?

            We’re about 10 years away from a Detroit style meltdown.

            1. Bob Amundson

              The term I use for politics in Richland County is incestuous. Doug, it’s not nearly so bad in many other places, but perhaps we are heading to a “Detroit style meltdown.”

  2. Burt

    Why are the Coroner, Register of Deeds and Clerk of Court running under a party ticket? Should I be concerned if any of the three are party affiliated?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      No, you should not. It’s totally ridiculous that we’re asked to vote for those offices, and even more ridiculous that they run by party…

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