Today's statewide primary offers voters the chance to narrow the field for Beaufort County sheriff, governor, the S.C. House of Representatives, the U.S. House of Representatives, county auditor, county council and weigh in on several issues.
The Bluffton Library was busy Tuesday morning as voters headed in and out of the polls. Major issues many said they came to vote for are the governor's and sheriff's races.
"I voted for P.J. Tanner," Kenny Burr of Bluffton said as he left the polls. "I think he's done and an excellent job."
Others came to vote for issues on the ballot.
"I came to vote for Medicaid expansion because it is very important to me," Elouise Cram of Bluffton said. "I also voted for Joe Cunningham because he believes in universal healthcare and women's rights."
Here are four things you need to know before you step into the voting booth:
Who's running for governor
There are five candidates for the Republican nomination: Gov. Henry McMaster — who had been lieutenant governor and became governor in January 2017 when Nikki Haley joined the Trump administration — is being challenged by Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant of Anderson, former Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill of Kingstree, Mount Pleasant attorney Catherine Templeton and Greenville businessman John Warren.
There are three candidates for the Democratic nomination: State Rep. James Smith, Florence attorney Marguerite Willis and Charleston business consultant Phil Noble.
Who's running locally
Beaufort County Sheriff
Incumbent P.J. Tanner, a Republican first elected in 1998, faces his first challenger in a primary or general election since 2002.
Challenger JoJo Woodward (R), 55, a former Sheriff's Office captain for the unit's southern division, will try to unseat Tanner.
Beaufort County Council, District 9
Randy Boehme, Mark Lawson, Mike Raymond and Laura Sterling each want to lock up the Republican nomination ahead of November 6's general election, when one of them will face Democrat Mark McGinnis.
District 9 is now served by Tabor Vaux, who is not running for re-election, and covers Bluffton, Pritchardville and Daufuskie Island. Four other County Council seats will be contested in November but not in the primaries.
Beaufort County Auditor
Republican incumbent Jim Beckert faces challenger George Wright, who ran against him in 2014 and works in the county treasurer's office.
S.C. House of Representatives races
Incumbent Rep. Bill Bowers, a Democrat who has served since 1997, faces challenger Shedron Williams for the chance to represent portions of northeastern Beaufort County and larger portions of Jasper and Hampton counties.
The winner will face Democrat Mario Martinez in November.
U.S. House of Representatives, District 01
What else is on the ballot?
Each political party has two, nonbinding, advisory items on their ballots that won't directly impact law and policy. The parties use them as way to gauge public opinion.
1) Do you support passing a state law allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients?
2) Do you support passing a state law requiring the governor of South Carolina to accept all federal revenues offered to support Medicaid and Medicaid expansion efforts in the state?
1) Do you believe that voters should have the option to choose to affiliate with a political party when they register to vote or change their voter registration in South Carolina?
2) Do you believe that South Carolina’s tax code should be brought into conformity with the new Trump tax cuts in the federal tax code for maximum simplification and to lower the overall tax burden on South Carolina taxpayers and businesses?
Where and when to vote
- Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Real-time, unofficial election results will be available online at www.scvotes.org.
- Find polling places by visiting www.scvotes.org, then clicking "Find My Polling Place."
- Voters don't have to be members of political parties to cast ballots Tuesday, but they can vote in only one contest.
- Voters must have one of the following photo IDs: S.C. driver's license; S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles ID card (includes S.C. concealed weapons permit); S.C. voter registration card; U.S. passport or federal military ID (includes all Department of Defense photo IDs and the Department of Veterans Affairs benefits card).