Tues., 7PM UPDATE: Check back here soon for preliminary election results as they come in.
Tuesday's 18-candidate primary free-for-all pits candidates from every corner of the Republican political spectrum in a race that's attracted national eyeballs since former Sen. Jim DeMint's resignation late last year set the wheels in motion that prompted his successor, Tim Scott, to ascend to the U.S. Sen., leaving the 1st District House race open. We put together a few FAQs to help you get to the polls on Tuesday to cast your vote.
First thing's first: Polls are open from 7 A.M. to 7 P.M.
Who's voting on Tuesday?
The Tuesday primary is only for 1st Congressional district voters. The district lines have changed some since the last Congressional election, including some in downtown Charleston, so be sure to stop by scvotes.org to check your voter registration. The 1st District takes up parts (but not all) of Beaufort, Berkeley, Colleton, Dorchester, and Charleston Counties. Parts of the peninsula north of Calhoun St. lie within the 6th District, represented by U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn.
Which primary can I vote in?
South Carolina holds open primaries, which means that you can vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary, but not both.
Who's on the ballot?
There are 16 Republican candidates on the ballot and two Democrats. The winner must earn at least 50% of the votes cast in their contest to be declared the winner. For a sample Republican ballot, click here. To see a sample Democratic ballot, click here.
Where's my voting location?
70 of Charleston County's 100 voting locations will be in use tomorrow, visit scvotes.org to find where you'll cast your ballot. The Charleston County Board of Elections also has an interactive map of voting locations available at polling.charlestoncounty.org. Remember, the Tuesday SC-1 primary is ONLY for 1st District voters. Check your registration status at scvotes.org.
When will we know the results?
After the polls close at 7 P.M., poll workers will begin the process of tabulating and reporting results from the electronic voting machines at each location to the local boards of elections, which will report out the preliminary results, which will then be compiled by the state Election Commission. Poll workers will also print and post the results outside each polling place. Provisional and absentee ballots will be recorded, certified, and reported separately, usually a couple days after the election. It's safe to say that a few hours after the polls close, we'll have a good idea of how the results will shake out.
Remember, that since there are 16 Republican candidates, the GOP race will almost assuredly go to a run off between the top two vote-getters. Many are predicting that former Gov. Mark Sanford will do well enough at the polls to make it into the run off election. The run off would take place on April 2, with the general set for May 7.
What do I need bring to the polls to be eligible to cast my vote?
You may have heard about new voter ID laws that have gone into place since the 2012 presidential election. The new law says that every voter must be in possession of one of the following forms of identification to cast your vote: S.C. Driver's License, ID Card issued by S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, S.C. Voter Registration Card with Photo, Federal Military ID, or a U.S. Passport.
However, if you don't have an eligible ID when you go to vote, you CAN cast a provisional ballot by signing an affidavit swearing that you meet pre-determined "reasonable impediment" criteria laid out by the state election commission. For more on what qualifies as a reasonable impediment, click here.