Turnout varied across the tri-county area for Tuesday's general midterm election, which saw local, state and national races affecting the area, with both increases and decreases being reporting by county elections offices.
Fueled by the nine Sumter school board races, 46.8% of registered voters in Sumter County participated in the 2022 midterm election.
A total of 31,008 ballots were cast out of 66,282 registered voters in the county, according to an election summary report from the Sumter County Voter Registration and Elections office. More than 6,000 voters participated in early voting.
The total is down from 2018, when 51.6% of Sumter voters - or 34,817 - participated in the last midterm in a non-presidential election year. In 2020, voter turnout was 63.7%. Participation in an election when the president is on the ballot is historically higher than a midterm, according to officials.
Pat Jefferson, executive director of the Sumter voter registration office, said she thinks the Sumter School District Board of Trustees races brought people out to vote in this election cycle.
"I think the school district interest was high," Jefferson said. "Of course, those candidates actually got out and campaigned with the related forums they had, and they were on top of putting their political signs out there."
Clarendon County Voter Registration and Elections office saw an increase in the turnout compared to 2018 and 2020.
Out of 22,043 registered voters, 11,586 ballots were cast, according to Sharmane Anderson, executive director of the Clarendon County Voter Registration and Elections office.
Of those, 4,780 people voted before Election Day, and 6,289 voters turned out to polls Tuesday. Absentee ballots totaled 517 ballots.
"We were excited to have 41% of our total registered voters to exercise their civic duty in our 2022 Statewide General Election. This has been an increase from our previous midterm elections. We look forward to increasing voter participation and enhancing the voter process in future elections," Anderson said.
Lee County saw a decrease in the number of voters for this midterm election.
The Lee County Election and Registration Office reported 5,347 ballots cast out of 10,578 registered voters.
In comparison to the 2018 election, ballots were down about a thousand - with 6,442 votes cast four years ago - despite a decrease in registered voters this year to 11,556.
The 2020 election saw an increase of 3,161 voters, bringing the total ballots cast to 8,508. At the time, there were 12,016 registered voters in the county during a year of a presidential election.
According to The Sumter Item archives, Lee County Council held a public hearing in November 2021 to discuss population data ahead of redistricting, and the report showed the county lost nearly 14% of its population since 2010.
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