COLUMBIA, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - The South Carolina State Election Commission says citizens turned out in record numbers to get out the vote for the 2020 election cycle.
In a resolution thanking election workers, chairman John Wells recognized that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was an unusual challenge for everyone involved in the voting process. However, Wells says perseverance was the key to making sure everything went smoothly.
“Faced with extraordinary challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, state and county election officials worked tirelessly to adapt to new voting laws and set up safe voting processes,” said Wells. “As a result, the 2020 General Election was conducted safely and securely, all while seeing the largest number of voters in South Carolina election history. We thank the voters across South Carolina for their patience and enthusiasm under unprecedented circumstances.”
That adaptivity was crucial for the record-setting numbers in the general election; 72% of registered voters turned out in 2020, the highest turnout percentage since the 76% turnout in 2008. 2020's turnout was also the second highest turnout percentage in the last 25 years.
Breaking down the data, 1,334,000 registered voters cast absentee votes, more than doubling the previous record of 503,000 set in the 2016 general election. Of those absentee ballets cast this election cycle, 893,000 of them were cast in person, a new record that more than doubles the 370,000 in-person absentee votes cast in 2016. It was a similar story for mail-in absentee ballots: 441,000 votes this cycle, tripling the 147,000 mail-in votes case in 2016.
On Election day itself, 1,199,000 voters went to the polls. This means that total voter turnout was at 2,533,000, a new record improving on the 2,124,000 total voter turnout in 2016. 53% of all votes were done absentee, a record high. In 2016, 24% of all votes were absentee.
However, turning attention back to Election Day, 47% of all votes in 2016 were cast on election day. This is a record low, per the commission, and a stark difference to 76% of Election Day voter turnout in 2016.