S.C. early voter turnout breaks record; ‘increased web traffic’ causes website crash

Published: Oct. 24, 2022 at 9:28 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 24, 2022 at 5:58 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Initial numbers are in and South Carolina voters turned out in record-breaking numbers for the first day of early voting.

Forty-thousand people voted early, nearly doubling the previous one-day record for early voting in statewide primaries.

Horry County has seven voting locations. In the Carolina Forest location, staff saw more than 500 people casting their ballots early.

“I believe that my vote does count so that’s why I vote early. There’s so many moving parts so all of this does contribute to what we see through our taxes,” said Horry County resident Joe Calas.

Some residents said they voted early in case something came up on election day, emphasizing the importance of casting their vote.

“I think the economy is terrible again and I think there needs to be a change. It is up to us the people to get out and make that change,” said Horry County resident Michael Causey “I was surprised to see a line out here but I wanted to come out and get my vote in just in case if something happens on November the eighth. I think is important for us to get out and you know put our vote in.”

However, the record number of voters caused a hiccup with the voting system.

Monday morning, South Carolina voters looking for information to cast their ballot early for the November election were greeted by an error message.

The South Carolina State Election Commission website crashed Monday morning, the first day of early voting.

Visitors to the site were greeted with an error message, “404 Not Found,” if the page loaded at all.

S.C. voting website crashes within hours on first day of early voting
S.C. voting website crashes within hours on first day of early voting(SCVOTES)

Then the website crashed again in the afternoon.

The commission said via social media the issue was being worked on and encouraged anyone with questions about the election to reach out to their local election offices.

The commission also released the following statement:

“The South Carolina Election Commission reports that the scVOTES.gov website is experiencing issues loading webpages amidst a high percentage increase in web traffic. We apologize to those attempting to access the website and are actively working to restore access.

The website issues do not impact voters’ ability to vote early at early voting locations around the state that opened today and do not compromise the integrity of the election in any way.

While this issue has no direct impact on operations at Early Voting Centers, the Election Commission recognizes the importance of the website for voters to find early voting locations and other information. To help voters access this information:

  • Early Voting Locations are being shared through Twitter and Facebook.
  • Links for voters to get their sample ballot and check their registration are also being shared through social media. Direct link: https://vrems.scvotes.sc.gov/Voter/Login.
  • Voters can also contact their local election office directly.

‘On behalf of the South Carolina Election Commission, I apologize for the website issues South Carolinians are facing today,’ said Howard Knapp, executive director of the South Carolina Election Commission. ‘Our team is working diligently to ensure website access is restored and the issues do not persist into the future.’”

Director of Horry county Elections and Registration Sandy Martin said they are making the voting process easier for Horry County despite the technical issues.

“We are hoping that early voting will do really well the more people vote on early voting the less people we will have on election day, the line will be shorter,” said Martin.

Martin encouraged people to pre-read their ballots. This year the ballot includes a lengthy question about a proposed special one percent sales and use tax in Horry County.

She warned the machines could time out, and voters would have to start the process over again.

Monday is the first day of early voting in the 2022 General Election.

For more information about early voting in South Carolina, click here.