Here is the latest information on Election Day in Sumter, Lee and Clarendon counties, as well as issues that affect or may be of interest to readers taking place across the nation. Stay tuned here for updates throughout the day and night. The first polls close at 6 p.m. Polls in South Carolina close at 7 p.m. Anyone who is in line at the time polls close will be allowed to vote.
There have been more than 328,000 absentee ballots requested across South Carolina, almost 300,000 of which were issued, as of a 5 p.m. report from the South Carolina Election Commission.
That includes 214,892 absentee ballots cast in person and nearly 81,000 issued by mail.
In Sumter, the number of absentee ballots has increased to 8,040 issued, including 5,710 in person and 2,250 via mail.
In Clarendon, there have been 3,544 issued, including 2,946 cast in person and 588 by mail. Lee County has had 1,062 issued, including 979 in person and 77 by mail.
(By Kayla Robins)
President Donald Trump is spending Election Day calling allies, tweeting endorsements and following news coverage, after concluding a six-day rally blitz in Missouri late Monday.
Trump packed his closing argument with hardline immigration rhetoric and harsh attacks on Democrats as he stared down the prospect of Republican losses that could shadow his presidency.
Faced with the possibility of keeping the Senate but losing the House, aides have begun laying out the political reality to Trump, who could face an onslaught of Democratic-run investigations and paralysis of his policy agenda.
Trump has already been trying out defensive arguments, noting that midterm losses are typical for the party in the White House, pointing out a high number of GOP retirements and stressing that he has kept his focus on the Senate.
Long lines and malfunctioning machines marred the first hours of voting in some precincts across the U.S.
Some of the biggest problems Tuesday were in Georgia, a state with a hotly contested gubernatorial election. Voters reported waiting up to three hours to vote.
At a polling place in Snellville, Georgia, more than 100 people took turns sitting in children's chairs and on the floor as they waited in line for hours.
Voter Ontaria Woods said about two dozen people who had come to vote left because of the lines.
At a poll site in Atlanta, voters waited in the rain in long lines that stretched around the building.
Hannah Ackermann said officials at the polling site offered various explanations for the delay, including blaming workers who didn't show up and overloaded machines.
Severe thunderstorm could possibly occur this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
The hazardous weather outlook was for the Midlands and into Georgia for the Central Savannah River area. Other than the showers and possible thunderstorms after 5 p.m., it will be mostly cloudy today with a high near 82 degrees.
A storm overnight into early this morning knocked down trees and power lines from Louisiana to South Carolina. According to The Associated Press, there were no serious injuries, but an estimated 11,000 residents were left temporarily without electricity.
As voters in the Swan Lake and Folsom Park precincts waited in two separate lines to the door before and at 7 a.m. when polls opened Tuesday for Election Day, whispers and comments could be heard throughout the Willow Drive Elementary School halls about turnout.
Many said they had never seen a line to vote so long in Sumter County before. Some had never had to wait before.
They waited in line with candidates Bonnie Disney and Archie Parnell, who were spotted casting their own ballots Tuesday. Disney was one of two appointed to the Sumter School Board’s non-partisan at-large seats in 2017 that are now up for election for the first time. Parnell is on the Democratic ticket for the 5th Congressional District, challenging Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., who is from Rock Hill.
The sentiments followed predictions and early numbers coming in about record turnout for absentee votes. More than 1,200 ballots were cast in-person as absentee on Monday, according to Pat Jefferson, director of the Sumter County Voter Registration Office. There is technically no early voting in South Carolina, but voters can cast absentee ballots in person or by mail.
She said Monday afternoon the office was processing absentee voter No. 8,352 for this midterm.
An employee at the office Tuesday morning ran a report for absentee ballots and said 2,243 were mailed out, 73 were sent to military members overseas and 5,704 voters completed their absentee ballots in person.
Those numbers are higher than the 2014 midterm that saw about 5,200 absentee ballots cast total, Jefferson said.
As of Friday evening, there were already 46 percent more absentee votes this year across the state than the previous midterm record of 157,000 in 2014, according to The Associated Press. The record for most early voters in any South Carolina election was in November 2016 when more than 500,000 absentee votes were cast.
A turbulent election season that has tested President Donald Trump's slash-and-burn political style against the strength of the Democratic resistance comes to a close as Americans cast ballots in the first national election of the Trump era.
As voters head to the polls Tuesday, nothing is certain.
Anxious Republicans have privately expressed confidence in their narrow Senate majority but fear the House is slipping away.
Democrats' very relevance in the Trump era depends on winning at least one chamber of Congress. They remain laser-focused on health care as they predict a nationwide "awakening" that will break up the GOP's monopoly in Washington and state governments.
The first polls close at 6 p.m. EST.
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