Have any of y’all voted yet? If so, how?

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I’m reliably informed that “in-person absentee voting” — which is what we’re supposed to call it instead of “early voting” — has now outstripped 2010 and 2014, with eight days still to go.

It certainly looked that way at 2020 Hampton late this morning, when I shot these pictures.

I’m wondering how many of y’all have availed yourselves of that opportunity. And if you don’t mind sharing, how did you vote?

There are indications that the absentees are mostly going for us. I don’t know that for sure, but we’ll know soon enough.

As for me, well, you know that I like to vote on Election Day. It’s a communitarian thing. Something about standing in line with my neighbors to participant in an American ritual. So unless something comes up that makes me think I’ll be too busy, I’m waiting until then. (Actually, maybe I should ask James and Mandy and others on the campaign if they anticipate that being a super-busy day for me — since I never engaged in this kind of thing before.)

But if you want to vote now, please do, by all means. It’s kind of a rush to see all those folks lining up, eager to vote. Democracy in action…

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27 thoughts on “Have any of y’all voted yet? If so, how?

  1. Karen Pearson

    I was just thinking I might go vote early, but from the looks of it, I’ll wait just as long there as I will on election day.

  2. Dave Crockett

    I’ll be voting on election day. I’ve never missed a general election since I turned 18 but I confess to being less attentive to the mid-terms. I am paying attention this year…

  3. Sally Huguley

    Hi Brad,
    Mark has voted at the downtown Richland County Voter Registration office. I’ll vote on Election Day. So many people voted early in 2016, I walked right in and was guided straight to a voting booth. No wait at all.

    Regarding an early childhood/universal K-4 message from James, it would have been a good idea for Mandy to campaign on this issue before groups she addressed. It could have been an effective message for her. However, with luck, James could include it in his State of the State.

  4. Doug Ross

    I voted early since I will be out of state on Election Day. Voted for James Smith and against Joe Wilson and Alan Wilson – I couldn’t even tell you who was running against them but Joe Wilson is the epitome of what is wrong with politics in America and Alan Wilson proved he was beholden to the Quinndom without any question.

    My vote for James Smith was mostly against McMaster but also because he supports medical marijuana — even though that support is too specifically targeted to veterans.

    All the betting markets have McMaster winning easily. Polls show a more than 10 point gap at this point which would be larger than the margins Sheheen had. When the economy is good (and it is) it’s hard to beat an incumbent. Plus, as I have detailed in a couple emails to Brad, the Smith campaign has made so many strategic and tactical mistakes…

    1) Running as a team with Mandy Powers Norrell. James and Mandy went EVERYWHERE together. Which causes a lot of perception issues because Smith is supposed to be the leader, not co-governor. And, frankly, when they are together, Mandy comes across as more energetic, more engaged. Smith just doesn’t appear to have that fire in the belly that is necessary to fire up the kind of turnout he will need to win. He had poor name recognition six months ago and probably hasn’t done much to overcome that. I just got the sense that he knows if he loses, he can return to his high paying law practice and remain a Senator til he retires.

    2) Ignoring the black vote. Blacks make up 1/3 of the voters in the state. Smith needs a huge turnout in that community to win in a state where he is automatically down 7-10 points at the start. He could have picked a black running mate. He could have addressed issues specific to the black community (incarceration rates for one). But he’s stayed true to the generic Democratic playbook: schools, Medicaid, environment, and women’s rights.

    3) Smith never made any effort to court right leaning independent voters. Nothing about taxes — in fact just the opposite — everything he talked about will cost taxpayers more money. Smith and Norrell talked about their “experience” working across the aisle yet there really is no evidence that they have actually accomplished anything significant in that regard as legislators. Hugh Leatherman doesn’t need James Smith.

    4) Too much negative campaigning against McMaster. The past few weeks have been all negative. It’s not working. Even jumping on the “Henry is a bad landlord” bus… it just looks so weak to go down that old path.

    5) Avoiding the issue of government corruption. Smith and Norrell have been there on the front lines while all the Quinn stuff was going on yet they never spoke about it that I am aware of unless asked by a journalist. That could have been a key issue to campaign on — but the downside is they’d have to explain how they were either unaware of what was going on or not interested in fixing it for political reasons.

    I’ll be totally shocked if Smith wins… and a loss cannot come with “participation trophy” accolades for “trying hard” and “running a good campaign”. That’s lame. Smith had the best chance a Democrat has had in 20 years to win. If he loses, its because he didn’t run the right campaign.

    1. Doug Ross

      Oh, and if you live in Richland School district 2, please vote against the bond referendum that will spend 380 million dollars on brick and mortar that won’t do ANYTHING to improve the education of the students. And certainly vote against the additional 80 million for two new football stadiums and an arts center. At what point do people realize that we should be using that money to pay for TEACHING, not COACHING? 30% of the 8th graders can’t read at grade level. Spend the money on literacy, not linebackers.

    2. Doug Ross

      Haley beat Sheheen 56-41 in 2014 and 51-47 in 2010. I’m guessing it’s somewhere in the middle of that this year — 53-46. An opportunity lost for Democrats.

      1. Barry

        I agree with Doug.

        When will Democrats in South Carolina running for governor figure out that a close to the vest campaign won’t win. It’s just a waste of money.

        It takes some creativity, and serious outreach to beat Republicans in South Carolina.

        Heck, I live just outside of Columbia and followed the Smith campaign and I sensed no excitement.

        I voted for Smith,. I also voted against Alan Wilson.

        I voted for Curtis Loftis. I voted for Archie Parnell (but held my nose as I did it).

        1. Doug Ross

          Maybe Brad won’t tell us but the sense I got was there was nobody inside the campaign ever telling a different story than “You’re doing great!” and “We got this!”. Were there any voices of concern at any point?

          They made the mistake of paying for a poll ten weeks ago that made it look closer than it really was to try and energize people — rather than doing the actual steps required to get crossover votes.

          So many missteps along the way….

          1. Scout

            I think he got at least some crossover votes. My precinct in West Columbia went blue in the Governor’s race, but no other race this time. So seems like some were voting for Smith but not other democrats. To my knowledge this is the first time my precinct has ever gone blue in any race; at least as long as I’ve payed attention and checked results. I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 11 years. My precinct is typically very red, but I saw alot more yard signs in my neighborhood for Smith than I ever have for any democrat.

            So something was happening; clearly it wasn’t enough though.

            He had a ton of small local donors instead of the big corporate and out of state donors that McMaster had. Money buys TV. That didn’t help.

            1. Barry

              The commercial where James and Mandy introduce themselves should’ve been running in mid-September not the last couple weeks of the campaign.

              A Democrat for governor can’t win and South Carolina running a conventional campaign.

              If they want to win they have to run outside the box- they’ve got to start the campaign much earlier and in a serious way.

              They have to come up with a couple of positions that are unconventional but independent and some Republicans would like to support

              1. David

                Exactly. It was a terribly run campaign. No message, no excitement, and such a standard by the books campaign when that book has been shown time after time not to work for Democrats in SC. If you want to win as a Democrat statewide in SC you have to, as you said, roll the dice. it’s amazing that someone with as legitimately great a life story as James Smith has, one full of so much risk and daring, was afraid to take any risks in his one chance to run for Governor. The campaign was an embarrassment to Democrats in South Carolina, who deserved a lot better for the money they donated to it.

  5. bud

    I like James and Mandy but they come across like they’re running for king and queen of the prom rather than gov and give lite. Still I’ll go do my duty and vote Tuesday. Sadly the experts are probably right and the slumlord wins by double digits.

  6. Burl Burlingame

    I’ve voted early for the last two decades because I’ve always been a poll worker, and you can’t get away to cast your own vote that day! This year, however, I’m not doing the poll worker thing but have managed to be out of town on both election days (I’m sitting in an airport right now!) and had to vote early even so.

    In Hawaii, as usual, the choice is always between the dull but efficient bureaucrat and the lunatic.

  7. C J Watson

    As you know, it doesn’t really matter who the governor is in this state. This is a legislative state and govs just don’t really matter. It’s really a matter of who you want to hear complain for the next four years. I’m usually a Republican voter but will gladly vote for Smith/Norrell on Tuesday because they together couldn’t possibly produce the same amount of auditory windbaggery detritus as can McMaster. It is my hope that McMaster is taught that you cannot just stand around the statehouse for decades and wish yourself into the governorship.

  8. Scout

    I voted early because of being out of town most of today. We did end getting back in time I could have voted today, but didn’t know it. I voted for James/Mandy, and also against the Wilsons. Y’all mark it down, Doug and I agreed.

    1. Doug Ross

      And we both lost on all three…

      Sorry, but James Smith ran an uninspiring campaign. He didn’t do any better than Vincent Sheheen did four years ago…

      1. Doug Ross

        One thing that boggled my mind was that i donated to the Smith campaign TWICE and never got any follow-up communication. Not an email, no postcard, nothing. Who would be better to target for support than people who were willing to put their money where there vote was?

        1. Scout

          Could it possibly have gone in a spam folder or something? I’m asking honestly. I gave and got emails from them.

  9. Norm Ivey

    We voted on Tuesday. We live close enough that we were able to walk to the polls, and like you say, there are neighbors everywhere to catch up with. Waited in line about an hour. Didn’t pick many winners. I usually don’t.

    1. Barry


      I voted in Kershaw County mid morning. I was #88. Didn’t select many winners.

      I was lucky in that I had my 18 year old son with me as he voted for the first time. He didn’t select many winners either outside of our local rep. I was proud of him though.

      I asked him if he had heard any of his fellow seniors at school talking about voting or registering to vote. He said he didn’t know anyone else that said they’d be voting. (admittedly he doesn’t talk about such stuff at school). But I saw no young people at our precinct when we were in there. But it was a small crowd.

  10. Phillip

    Yeah the lines for the early voting on Harden/Hampton seemed crazy, so I just voted 5:30 PM at MLK Park and waltzed in, zero line. I was 177 even at that point in the day. I know a lot of people in the precinct might have voted early.

    Well thanks for fighting the good fight, Brad. McMaster didn’t make any significant blunders in the campaign, and a Republican will only ever lose a statewide race if they got embroiled in some really horrible personal scandal. Given the economy, McMaster’s seeming competence in the hurricanes, Smith ran about as well as he could.

    Boy I am tickled to death about Joe Cunningham’s win, though. Hope we’ll be seeing the blog reviving soon! Gotta have a place to meet electronically as we discuss some very tumultuous times ahead!

    1. Scout

      He is a slumlord who totally threw his wife under the bus rather than own up to his own shortcomings (in the second debate). That ought to have been a scandal. And he wants people to think he is a gentleman.


      Things have changed.

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