Beaufort County voters could see long lines again in 2020

Beaufort County voters could see long lines again in 2020

BEAUFORT COUNTY, Sc. (WTOC) - The 2020 election might be over a year away, but that doesn’t mean local governments aren’t already preparing for voter turnout.

While we’re so far out, there’s not much we can be certain of, but if you live in Beaufort County, you can be almost certain that if nothing changes, you could be waiting in very long voting lines.

“What it simply means is that people are going to have to wait longer in line,” said Rep. Bill Herbkersman, R, SC, District 118.

When the the Board of Voter Registration and Elections staff asked the state to fund the addition of three precincts to the Bluffton area, they expected it to be fairly routine.

“The bill that was introduced early in the year was to take three precincts and create three new precincts,” said Marie Smalls, Director of the Board of Voter Registration.

South Carolina State Representative Bill Herbkersman agreed.

“They asked to change and split precincts based on numbers, so we sent their recommendations, we turned it into a bill, and in the House, we pass the bill in no time because it’s really local legislation. It just has to do with our area,” he said.

The bill was blocked in the South Carolina Senate, and no action was taken this legislative session. Now, the director for the Board of voter Registration, Marie Smalls, has to find a way to compensate for the growing numbers of voters in Bluffton.

“I was just here to solicit the entire delegation support when that bill comes back up in January, so that we can implement these three precincts and hope to alleviate some of the over-crowdedness at the existing ones.”

Smalls’ hope is to have solutions in place by the 2020 elections.

Right now, there are 19 existing precincts in Bluffton, and the additional three would all be in the town, south of the Broad, to create shorter wait times.

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