2019 Election Guide: What you need to know before heading to the Beaufort County polls

Beaufort County Election Day is Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know:

When are polling locations open?

The polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 5.

What will be on my ballot?

Voters can check their sample ballots on the South Carolina Election Commission website. Enter your county, name and date of birth at http://bit.ly/checkyourvoterinfo.

To vote in the Bluffton municipal elections, you must reside in the town limits. The town has an “Am I in Bluffton?” application map. Enter your address to determine whether you are in the town limits. If you are in Beaufort County but not in Bluffton, you are eligible to vote on the Beaufort County school bond issue but not in Bluffton municipal elections.

Where is my polling place?

Using the form on the Election Commission’s website, you can determine your precinct location. Enter your county, name and date of birth at http://bit.ly/checkyourvoterinfo.

The addresses for all Beaufort County polling locations are listed on the county website at https://www.beaufortcountysc.gov/vote/Polling-Locations.html.

What do I need to bring with me to vote?

You must show a photo ID to cast your vote in Tuesday’s elections. You may use a South Carolina driver’s license or any photo ID issued by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, a state voter registration card with a photo, a U.S. passport or a federal military ID.

What do I do if there’s a problem at the polls?

If you experience an issue while voting, the Election Commission recommends you talk to the poll manager at your precinct. If the issue is not resolved by the poll manager, contact the Board of Voter Registration and Elections of Beaufort County at (843) 255-6900 and ask for Director Marie Smalls.

Where can I find election results?

Follow The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette on Facebook and visit islandpacket.com and beaufortgazette.com for coverage on election night. This is the first election in which Beaufort County will use the state’s new, paper-based voting machines. Marie Smalls, director of the Board of Voter Registration, said she expects to have results around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Where can I find out info about candidates and issues?

Bluffton municipal election

In the Bluffton municipal election, three candidates are vying for two open seats on town council. Newcomer Bridgette Frazier is challenging incumbents Harry Lutz and Dan Wood, while Mayor Lisa Sulka is running unopposed for her fourth term. If needed, Bluffton will hold a runoff election on Tuesday, Nov. 19. A runoff is required if two candidates fail to receive the majority of the vote. Majority vote is determined by dividing the number of votes cast by the number of seats to be filled, and then dividing that resulting number by two.

Port Royal municipal election

For the first time since 1995, Port Royal residents will have a new mayor. With longtime mayor Sam Murray not running for re-election, Port Royal voters will decide between Town Council member Mary Beth Gray-Heyward and resident Joe DeVito for the seat. Voters will also choose from among three candidates for two open town council seats: incumbents Jerry Ashmore and Robert Landrum and attorney Kevin Phillips.

Yemassee municipal election

In Yemassee, a town that straddles Beaufort and Hampton counties, newcomers Robert Bobby Moore Jr. and Darrell A. Russell will challenge incumbents Peggy Bing-O’Banner and Afred Washington.

Beaufort County school bond referendum

Beaufort County has a special election Nov. 5 — a $345 million school bond referendum. If voters approve, the bonds will pay for school repairs, safety upgrades and new construction. The bond issue will appear in two parts on the ballot, and voters must pass Part One, a $291 million package, for Part Two, a $54 million package, to pass.

A reporter for The Island Packet covering local government and development, Kacen Bayless is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. In the past, he’s worked for St. Louis Magazine, the Columbia Missourian, KBIA and the Columbia Business Times. He graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism degree with an emphasis in Investigative Reporting from the University of Missouri in 2019.