UNION COUNTY — The more than 17,000 Union County residents registered to vote in the June 14 Democratic and Republican primaries can now vote absentee.
Saturday was the deadline for registering to vote in either of the party primaries with persons registering to do so by mail required to have their application to do so postmarked that day while those filing online were required to do so by midnight.
On Monday, Union County Voter Registrar Darlene Pettit said that there had been a large influx of voter registration applications received by her office at the end of last week. Pettit said she is still in the process of entering these applications which had arrived prior to the filing deadline. She said that as of that morning a total of 17,121 Union County residents were registered to vote in the primaries but that the number will increase as she continues to file the applications.
Those who have registered to vote will be able to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries on June 14. If, however, they choose not to wait until then to do so or know they will be unable to do so on that date, they may go ahead and vote absentee now.
Union County Election Commission Chairman Keith Vanderford announced Monday that the absentee precinct had opened at 8 a.m. that morning and would remain open through June 13.
As in the case of registering to vote in the primaries, Union County residents have more than one way to vote absentee including:
• Using the voting machine at the Voter Registrar’s Office, 1246 S. Duncan Bypass, Union between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
• Voting by mail, either by coming in person to the Voter Registrar’s Office and getting ballot which they can mail in later or calling the office and having one mailed to them.
Pettit said that whether voting at the Absentee Precinct at her office or picking up an absentee ballot in person, those who choose to do so will have to present the proper identification as they would if they were voting in one of the county’s other precincts on June 14.
Those who call requesting a ballot, will have to provide the required information over the phone in order to have it mailed to them.
Pettit cautioned those who plan to vote absentee by mail that their ballot must be returned to her office by the time the polls close at 7 p.m. on June 14 in order to be counted.
There will be a total of six contested races — three Democrat, three Republican — on the party ballots on June 14, but some precincts will not have Democratic ballots. This is because they fall outside the Union County Council districts where there are contested races for the Democratic Party nominations in those districts. Those districts are:
• Jonesville Box 1
All precincts in the county will have Republican ballots as the races for the GOP nominations for SC House District 42 and US House District 5 are countywide. The third race is for the GOP nomination for the SC Senate 14 seat which will be on the ballot in only part of the county’s precincts.
The following contested races and candidates will be on the Democratic primary ballots:
• Union County Council District 2 — Incumbent Ralph Tucker is being challenged by John Glenn and James R. Rice. No Republicans are running for the seat.
• Union County Council District 3 — Incumbent Tommy Ford is being challenged by Howard “Wahoo” Gibson. The winner of the Democratic nomination for District 3 will face Republican David Sinclair in November.
• Union County Council District 5 — Incumbent Randall “Chump” Hanvey is being challenged by Tommie Hill. No Republicans are running for the seat.
The following contested races and candidates will be on the Republican primary ballots:
• SC House District 42 — Mark Cathcart and Tommy Mann are running for the GOP nomination. The winner will face incumbent Democrat Mike Anthony.
• SC Senate District 14 — Incumbent Harvey Peeler is being challenged by Kenny Price. No Democrats are running for the seat.
• US House District 5 — Incumbent Mick Mulvaney is being challenged by Ray Craig. The winner will face Democrat Fran Person and the nominee of the American Party.
Choosing A Primary
Voters who go to the polls June 14 must choose to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primaries.
In the event a race is not decided on June 14 a runoff will be held June 28.
For more information about the primaries and related issues contact the Union County Voter Registrar’s Office at 864-429-1616.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.