Poll Workers Prepare for South Carolina Primary - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

02/02/04

Poll Workers Prepare for South Carolina Primary

There's plenty of last-minute campaigning before tomorrow's Democratic primary in seven states, including South Carolina. Sen. John Edwards, a South Carolina native, is the projected front runner there. Edwards spoke at the College of Charleston today.

Here's a look at the latest CBS poll: Edwards is leading with 28 percent. Sen. John Kerry is a close second with 24 percent. Al Sharpton and Wesley Clark are barely in double digits, with 13 and 10 percent respectively, and Howard Dean and Joe Lieberman are even further back.

While candidates are busy campaigning, poll workers across the state are also preparing. Jasper County has about 10,000 registered voters, and local Democratic officials are expecting about 30 percent to come out and cast their votes.

It's a primary that local Democrats say South Carolina voters were left out of until this year. "We've never had any participation before," said Rep. Thayer Rivers (D-Dist 122). "We never had a say in it. It was always over by the time it got to be our turn, so I think there's a lot of interest in this thing."

But with the South Carolina primary scheduled just after the Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses, many say it helped South Carolina voters grab the attention of the candidates. "Anytime you get the attention of candidates and they want to listen with you and deal with issues you're concerned about, there's something to get excited about," said election coordinator Juanita White.

In fact, a number of the presidential hopefuls, including Al Sharpton and Sen. Edwards, made their way to Jasper County. "This is the first time in my time that the candidates for President have visited the area and actually came to Jasper County," White told us.

And local Democratic leaders are hoping that will mean a higher voter turnout. "Usually not that much turnout, but this time I think we are, because this time we had them paying a little bit of attention to us," said White. "And we're excited."

Just a reminder, the polls are open tomorrow from 7am to 7pm for all registered voters.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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