NEWBERRY COUNTY — Newberry County had a 72 percent voter turnout for the Nov. 8 General Election, which means 16,992 Newberry County residents — of the 23,531 active voters — let their voices be heard.
Shanna Proctor, director of Voter Registration and Elections, said while they were preparing for this election they looked at the 2008 election — the last time the country was voting for a new president. Voter turnout was 81 percent and 6,752 ballots were cast out of 20,624 registered voters.
“In 2008 you had an excitement that precedent of someone who had African-American heritage coming into office. I do not think they had quite that excitement this time,” she said.
Although the turnout was lower than 2008, Proctor said the turnout was still good.
“My poll workers worked the two Presidential Preferences in February and then we had the Primary and they had a lower turnout, so they were so excited. I had numerous ones tell me during check in, while they were bringing the equipment back, that they were so happy they were busy,” Proctor said. “They told me how many people voted at their precinct. They were all so happy that they had a good turnout. It was nice to see that.”
Precincts with the highest turnouts included Maybinton with 50 votes cast out of 83 registered voters, Peak with 90 votes cast out of 127 registered voters, Midway with 203 votes cast with 297 registered voters, Fairview with 929 votes cast out of 1,627 registered voters and Prosperity with 965 votes cast out of 1,888 registered voters.
Proctor said they did not have any machine issues despite some people reporting through social media that when they clicked on their candidate, another candidate was selected.
Proctor said that could have been caused by the way the voter was choosing who they were voting for. Some machines required the voter to hold a finger on the selection for a few seconds while for others, all it required was a tap.
“We had signs that if you had any questions or concerns please ask before you hit the confirm button. That way they could let us know so we can double check it before they cast the ballot. Once they cast the ballot it is anonymous, there is no retrieving it,” Proctor said.
Proctor added they had ROVERS (polling location technicians) out to double check machines, which are 10 years old. Some machines have new screens, but only a few.
“Next year they are going to do a system refresh, and replace all the batteries that the machines use, because they have various batteries in them. They are also going to replace all the touch screens, and update some of the other equipment that we use,” she said.
Proctor said the state sent some new touch screens to a few other counties during the primaries, and those counties reported those screens worked great.
“It should reduce any calibration issues that we have,” she said.
Proctor said one clerk did have to ask a voter to step into the restroom to turn her shirt inside out because it was in support of a candidate.
“One gentleman came in here and he was not sure where he voted. He had a button-up shirt on, but it was not buttoned, and he had a campaign shirt on. I let him know he would have to button it up because our precincts are impartial,” she said.
Proctor said the only real issues they had were voters who did not realize their address was not up to date, and they had to vote at their old polling location.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.