Several voters tout benefits of taking part in municipal elections despite lower turnouts

Some polling places saw hundreds come through their doors, others only helped a dozen

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —Even though turnout is generally lower for municipal elections as opposed to federal and state elections, some voters say they love the chance to make a difference for their communities.

Some people believe their vote carries greater weight when deciding municipal races, and that is why they go to the polling places each year.

“I’m a big voter. I think it’s important to do that. It certainly has more of an impact on your neighborhood where we live, you know, than some of the other ones,” said Peck Drennan, a voter who lives near Five Points.

Some precincts, including Greenview Park, saw hundreds of people come through their doors when the polls were open. Others, like the Olympia Learning Center, only had sixteen people come in and cast their ballots.

In cities like Columbia and West Columbia, where important seats in their respective city councils were up for grabs, some say local elections are more personal.

“These are your neighbors. These are who you’re voting for. These are not people out in Washington whom you never see. These are the people that you live with and you work with everyday, and so it’s important that these are the people that you vote for,” said Ernest Monts, a voting clerk for West Columbia’s fourth precinct. 

This year, those who showed up to the polling places had a chance to make history.

With new electronic voting machines, some voters got through the voting process within five minutes.

In addition to voters, some election clerks say the machines help make their jobs easier for future elections.

“It’s a trial test, that way we know what we need to do and not to do and that way we understand how the process works when they come next year because it will be a greater turnout,” said Bernard Hasan, a voting clerk at Olympia Learning Center.

As people cast their ballots, some say simply showing up to a polling place sets the tempo for a stronger democratic process.

“I hope everyone would not take voting for granted because people lived and died to make it happen and I want to be sure everyone knows that and everyone steps forward,” said Rebecca Drennan, a voter who lives near Five Points.

Voters had until 7 p.m. Tuesday to cast their ballots in person.

Categories: Local News, News