A new law in South Carolina has allowed voters to cast their ballots early for the June 14 primaries and some Jasper County voters have already taken the opportunity to vote, officials said.
The law established two weeks of early voting before elections and three days of voting in the event of runoff elections.
Early voting in the 2022 primaries began May 31 and will continue until June 10 from 8:30 am to 5 pm each day, with offices closed June 4 and 5, according to the SC Election Commission. If runoffs are needed in any race, early voting will take place June 22-24.
“We have had 115 who have voted early so far,” Jasper County Board of Elections and Voter Registration director Jeanine Bostick said Thursday, the fourth day of early voting. “We also have had 55 absentee-by-mail ballots returned as of Thursday afternoon.”
Bostick said voters can go to the state election website to retrieve a copy of their sample ballot at www.scvotes.gov
In Jasper County, early voters can cast their ballots at the Voter Registration and Elections office at 1506 Grays Hwy., Unit A, Ridgeland. The office is located behind Polaris Tech Charter School. Voters will be asked to present photo ID.
There is a pair of contested primaries for Jasper County voters. Three candidates are running for the Democratic nomination in the 6th Congressional District, which also has two candidates for the Republican nomination.
Incumbent Congressman James Clyburn faces challengers Gregg Marcel Dixon and Michael Addison. The Republican candidates are A. Sonia Morris and Duke Buckner.
Clyburn has been in office since 1993 and is from Sumter. As majority whip, he is the third-ranking Democrat in the US House of Representatives. His campaign website says he is working on issues including student debt relief, voting rights and immigration reform.
“He has a seat at the table when key decisions are being made in Washington and he works everyday to keep his promise to the people of South Carolina to put, ‘Service above self and principles above politics,’” the site says.
Dixon is a Ridgeland resident who has taught for 17 years, the last 10 at Royal Live Oaks charter school in Hardeeville. He is a Jasper County native and said his family has lived in the Lowcountry since at least the mid-1700s.
“After 30 years of James Clyburn, South Carolina District 6 is the sixth-poorest in the United States out of 435 districts total, and we, its Black residents, are the poorest, as we are throughout the nation,” Dixon said. “Somehow, we have come to think of this as normal, but it is not normal, nor is it acceptable. I am running because we deserve better, and repairing Black America will fix all of America, because until we all stand, we all have fallen.”
Addison is an Orangeburg resident and a native of Hartsville. He is an insurance claims adjuster and plans to focus on the minimum wage, rising gas prices and universal health care.
“One of the many issues Dr. Addison will focus on during the campaign is the minimum wage,” a post on his Facebook page says. “Since South Carolina does not have its own minimum wage, it uses the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour throughout the state. Dr. Addison sees the current economic climate as an opportunity to increase the federal minimum wage.”
There are other local, uncontested races on the ballot in Jasper County.
Democratic incumbent Monica Brooks-Wilson will be challenged in November by Republican Megan Carroll Horton for auditor. Democratic incumbent Verna L. Garvin and Republican Michael Skinner have filed to run for treasurer. Incumbent Probate Judge Buster Kleckley (D) has also filed to run for re-election.
Democratic State Rep. Shedron Williams will face a challenge from Republican candidate Bill Hager in District 122. Republican Reps. Bill Herbkersman (District 118) and Weston Newton (District 120) were the only candidates to file for their Statehouse seats.
Four candidates filed for a pair of seats on Jasper County Council. Democratic incumbent Curtis Brantley will be challenged in November by Republican Coy Garbade for the Robertville seat. Republican incumbent Marty Sauls faces a general election challenge from Democrat Samuel Gregory.
There will also be several Jasper County school board seats and two Hardeeville City Council seats up for election in November.
The school board seats up for election are in Districts 2, 4, 6 and 8. The District 2 seat is currently held by Joyce Gerald, the District 4 seat is held by Carolyn Bolden, the District 6 seat is held by Louise Rawlings and the District 8 seat is held by Tedd Moyd.
Candidates must file to run by noon Aug. 15. Petitions are no longer required, Bostick said. She said the only position that still requires petitions to be submitted is a seat on the Soil and Water Conservation Board, with petitions due by noon July 15.
The Hardeeville City Council seats held by David Spisso and Carolyn Kassel will be up for election in November. Filing is Aug. 1 to noon Aug. 15.