Chris Catena did his research.
He studied the issues and picked out the candidates he wanted to vote for in Bluffton's municipal election.
But when he showed up at the Rotary Community Center polling location on Tuesday to cast his ballot, he "was basically turned away," Catena said Wednesday.
"I wanted to vote but I couldn't," he said. "I have been following the campaigns and doing my homework. It felt pretty bad having to leave there without voting."
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Catena couldn't vote not because he wasn't registered or had forgotten to bring his identification.
He couldn't vote because technically he does not live in town despite the fact that his mailing address and driver's license both list a Bluffton residence.
As the town grew over the past decades from one-mile square around Old Town to a sprawling 54 miles, properties were annexed into the town piecemeal.
That created pockets -- known as "doughnut holes" -- of unincorporated Beaufort County surrounded by neighborhoods that are inside town limits.
State law prohibits the town council from deciding on its own to annex a piece of property.
The town's annexation policy document does recommend avoiding the creation of new holes.
But unless property owners petition the town for annexation, the current doughnut holes will continue to exist.
Catena lives in one of them in a neighborhood off Bluffton Parkway between Bluffton and Burnt Church roads.
"It's all really confusing," Catena said. "I thought all of Bluffton was just Bluffton. I didn't realize there were distinctions" between town limits and unincorporated county land.
"I live a mile from Old Town and a lot of issues the candidates talked about involved Old Town," he said. "It would have been nice to have my voice heard in the election."
Catena wasn't the only one turned away Tuesday.
Bob Hodges, who lives near the intersection of Buckwalter Parkway and U.S. 278, said he was turned away from the Lord of Life Lutheran Church polling location Tuesday evening.
"We wanted to get out and do our part," he said. "And decisions made by the council affect the entire town, even (greater) Bluffton."
There was no official count of how many residents of the unincorporated county tried to vote Tuesday.
But Patricia Hannin, a precinct official at the Bluffton Library polling location, said she "had a lot of people come (to vote) who think they live (within town limits), but don't."
Mayor Lisa Sulka, who was re-elected to a third term Tuesday, said, "I felt bad for the poll workers. They had to answer questions they weren't trained to answer."
She said in the future the town will be more proactive in letting area residents know if they live in town limits.
Michael Spears, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for town council this year, brought up the issue of voter confusion on the campaign trail.
While he was quick to note that he doesn't blame that confusion for his election day performance, he said, "There's a problem and I don't think the town is doing enough to address it."
Sulka plans to add a section to the town's website that would allow users to type in their address and find out immediately whether they are eligible to vote in municipal elections.
She said the feature will be added before the upcoming town council runoff election on Nov. 17.
Incumbent councilman Ted Huffman, Dan Wood and Harry Lutz are participating in that runoff.
The top two vote-getters will win the two open council seats.
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Follow reporter Lucas High on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Lucas.