Voter turnout down but more ballots cast in Horry County

Voter turnout down but more ballots cast in Horry County

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Voter turnout was 61 percent in Horry County on Tuesday, which was down five percent from 2012 and a total of 12 percent from 2008, according to unofficial results on

However, the numbers of ballots cast and registered voters have increased each year.

There were 145,000 registered voters in 2008. That rose to nearly 171,000 in 2012 before a growth of nearly 205,000 this year.

Those voters cast 105,749 ballots in 2008, 113,416 ballots in 2012 and 125,731 ballots Tuesday, so ballot submissions increased by about 12,000 ballots since last election.

WMBF News Political Expert Holley Tankersley said this shows population growth, but more people aren't necessarily voting.

The highest voter turnout was in precincts near Aynor, Galivants Ferry and the northwestern side of the county.

Tankersley said this falls in line with voting trends across the country, where people in rural areas turned out at higher rates than anticipated.

The precincts that saw lower voter turnout were around Conway and Myrtle Beach. Atlantic Beach had the lowest turnout of all at just 20 percent.

The precincts where more people voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump were among those that saw fewer of their total registered voters.

Tankersley said the precincts that saw that lower turnout were generally where populations are more diverse and educated.

Lake Park's turnout percentage is lower than other areas immediately surrounding it, but nearly 2,400 people voted in the precinct at Socastee High School, more than any other polling location in the county.

Athen's Pizza off Dick Pond Road had a busy day from voters who waited in the long lines or weren't able to withstand them long enough to vote.

"They were saying good things and they were saying some bad things," owner Georgia Carandola said. "(With a) three-hour wait, especially for the elderly people, some of them couldn't vote."

Carandola said the atmosphere was positive and patriotic overall, with people showing off their stickers and talking to each other. Plus, the business benefited from the extra customers.

"A lot of to-go orders," Carandola said. "People were having a lot of big orders at their house. I don't know if they were having get-togethers or if people were coming over to watch the elections."

However, Carandola said she wasn't able to vote because she had to leave the line at Socastee High School to come to the restaurant after waiting about 45 minutes.

"Very disappointed," she said. "I was looking forward to it. I should've gotten up at 5 in the morning or 6 in the morning if I had known, but there was never that much of a line."

Her daughter, Katina Economidis, waited to vote at Socastee High School for three hours.

"Once it started getting longer and longer and longer, a lot of the older people couldn't handle waiting," she said. "Couldn't handle standing up for so long. I was saving spots in line while they went and sat down really quick."

Economidis said she'd do it over again if she had to because voting is important to her.

"My grandparents were immigrants that opened this restaurant," Economidis said. "They didn't have the chance to vote when they first came here until they became American citizens years later."

Horry County Voters Registration and Elections Director Sandy Martin said once the new school is built in Socastee, the Lake Park precinct should be able to be split up.

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