MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Nearly two hours after the polls had closed, a line of cars was wrapped around the Horry County Voter Registration and Elections office, with those inside waiting to drop off ballots from area precincts.
By 9:20 p.m. Tuesday, 21 of Horry County’s 124 precincts had been reported.
Voters had until 7 p.m. Tuesday to get their absentee ballots in, the same time the polls had closed. By late afternoon, Horry County residents were lined up outside of the elections office in Conway.
It turns out, many voters were trying to drop off their absentee ballots in the drop-off box. To their surprise, there was a sign on the outside of the box stating they had to drop off their ballots inside the building.
Some voters said they had no idea they would be required to wait in line to drop off their ballots. Staff at the election office said on Election Day, voters at this location must drop off their ballots inside, because the drop-off option was limited to early voting.
More than 100 million Americans cast early ballots this election cycle, doubling the total who did so in 2016.
As the U.S. nears the conclusion of Election Day, upwards of 100.7 million voters have cast early or absentee ballots this cycle, according to data from the NBC News Decision Desk/TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm.
That means that in just early voting, turnout has reached nearly 75 percent of what it was in all of 2016, when about 136.5 million ballots were cast, according to NBC News.
In South Carolina, approximately 1.32 million registered voters cast an absentee ballot either in person or by mail, according to information from the State Election Commission. That more than doubles the record of 503,000 that was set in the 2016 election.
Of Horry County’s 251,885 registered voters, roughly 40% of them voted early. That equates to 100,406 voters who cast an absentee ballot.
Sandy Martin, director of Horry County Voter Registration and Elections, said it’s a “slow process” to count the number of absentee ballots that have come in.
“Going to be a long night,” Martin said Tuesday afternoon.