Beaufort County voting process runs smoothly

info@islandpacket.comNovember 7, 2012 

Voting ran smoothly during Tuesday's general election, in which more than 65 percent of Beaufort County's registered voters cast ballots, said Scott Marshall, executive director of the county elections board.

"Overall, it's looking like we had about 68-percent turnout, and in a county of about 106,000 people, that's a big turnout," Marshall said. "Our poll workers were great. We had very few problems, and overall, I think it went extremely well."

Tuesday marked Marshall's first presidential election as head of the county's elections office. He replaced longtime director Agnes Garvin, who retired months after the 2008 election. That election was marked with controversy after a race to fill two Bluffton Town Council seats was contested several days after the election because address coding errors on the precinct books prevented an undetermined number of Bluffton residents from casting ballots while allowing some nonresidents to vote.

There was a delay Tuesday night in posting the county's election results to the S.C. Election Commission's website, which Marshall attributed to the inspection and scanning of more than 18,000 absentee ballots cast this year.

"We could have pushed the results out sooner, but we still have a large number of paper absentee ballots that have to be scanned through the machines, and even before that can happen, the envelopes must first be inspected then opened," Marshall said. "We started doing that at 9 a.m. (Tuesday) and were still doing it until the wee hours of the morning."

All 84 of the county's voting precincts had reported by Wednesday morning.

-- Patrick Donohue

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