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Voting in Beaufort’s first, second and third precincts are all done at the same voting place at the Charles “Lind” Brown Activity Center at Greene and Hamar streets. Photo by Bob Sofaly.

Voting in runoff elections under way

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By Tony Kukulich

With the Beaufort County 2022 primary election results certified, voters are returning to the polls for two statewide runoff elections.

“There are no local runoffs in Beaufort County,” said Jean Felix, chair of the Board of Elections and Voter Registration of Beaufort County. “They will only be the statewide races.”

The Republican candidate for state superintendent of education and the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate will be decided by runoff elections scheduled for Tuesday, June 28.

A runoff election is held when none of the candidates in a given race capture a majority of the vote. If a runoff election is required, the top two vote getters in the race advance to the runoff.

According to Felix, residents who did not vote in the June 14 primary can vote in either party’s runoff election on June 28. Residents who did vote in the June 14 primary must vote in the same party for the runoff as they did in the primary.

Kathy Maness led a crowded field of six in the Republican race for S.C. Superintendent of Education, when she captured 30.57% of the vote in the primary. She’ll face second-place finisher Ellen Weaver who earned 23.33% of the primary votes. Candidates Travis Bedson, Bryan Chapman, Kizzie Gibson and Lynda Leventis-Wells were eliminated from the race.

“I want to thank all the supporters and volunteers who made yesterday’s victory possible,” Maness said in a social media post. “Know that the countless hours you have spent have paid off, and we are now heading into a runoff energized and reinvigorated by our first-place finish.”

The Republican winner of the runoff will face Democrat Lisa Ellis in the November general election. Ellis barely captured a majority of votes in the three-way Democratic primary race for state superintendent of education. At the close of voting, Ellis had 50.11% of the votes in her race.

The three Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate split the vote almost evenly. Catherine Fleming Bruce edged out Krystle Matthews by only 2,499 votes of the more than 172,000 votes cast in the contest. Angela Geter, who finished less than 2,000 votes behind Matthews was eliminated from the face. Fleming Bruce will again face Matthews in the runoff election.

“I look forward to the next two weeks traveling the state of South Carolina,” said Matthews after the close of voting in the primary. “Let’s win this runoff together and let’s bring it home for South Carolina.”

The winner of the Democratic runoff will challenge incumbent Republican Tim Scott. Scott did not face an opponent in the Republican primary.

Early voting began Wednesday, June 22 and will end Friday, June 24. Voting takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on those days. Early votes can be cast in Beaufort at 15 John Galt Road; Bluffton at 61B Ulmer Road; Hilton Head Island at 539 William Hilton Parkway and St. Helena Island at 6355 Jonathan Francis Senior Road.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 28. The same polling places used in the primary will be used again in the runoff election. However, the county election board advises that polling places are subject to change under certain conditions. Voters can check their assigned polling place at scvotes.gov before going to the polls on election day.

The Board of Voter Registration and Elections of Beaufort County’s Board of Canvassers will hold a hearing at 10:00 am on Thursday, June 30 to determine the validity of all provisional ballots cast in the runoff election. The hearing will be held at the Board of Voter Registration and Elections of Beaufort County, 15 John Galt Road, Beaufort, SC 29906.

Tony Kukulich is a recent transplant to the Lowcountry. A native of Wilmington, Del., he comes to The Island News from the San Francisco Bay Area where he spent seven years as a reporter and photographer for several publications. He can be reached at tony.theislandnews@gmail.com.

STATEWIDE RUNOFFS
There will be two statewide primary runoff elections June 28 – Republican Superintendent of Education and Democratic U.S. Senate.
People vote at their regular precincts. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Those who voted June 14 can only participate in the runoff for the party primary they voted in originally. Anyone who didn’t vote June 14, can vote in either runoff.
Democrat – U.S. Senate Candidates
– Catherine Fleming Bruce
– Krystle Matthews
Republican Race – State Superintendent of Education
– Kathy Maness
– Ellen Weaver
Early voting dates
– Thursday, June 23 – 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
– Friday, June 24 – 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Absentee voting
Absentee requests and applications are no longer accepted by email, fax, or online.
All absentee requests and applications must be done in-person or by phone. If you need an absentee application, please contact the Beaufort County Office of Voter Registration and Elections at 843-255-6900 or stop into our office at 15 John Galt Road.

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