COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) - With primary elections in the rear view mirror, candidates are now looking down the road to the November elections.
The primaries are extremely huge as they set up the ballot for the November general elections.
However, while South Carolinians across the state celebrated big wins Tuesday night, there was not a lot of voter participation at the polls.
With more than two millions voters registered statewide, only 451,436 ballots were cast. Thatâ??s about a 15% turnout according to the state election commission's website www.SCvotes.org.
With the next big race beginning, are political leaders expecting the same level of interest for the November contests? â??Voter participation in this country has unfortunately declined over the years,â?? said Joel Sawyer, a Republican consultant and Senior Vice President for Push Digital. â??Even when you look at the voting age population versus how many people show up to vote, quite honestly primary elections just are something that is not on people's radar.â??
It's a trend members of the state's main political parties are very familiar with.
â??In off year elections, non-presidential elections you expect the turn out to be much lower, and particularly when you don't have a lot of high profile primary races, for instance, the top of our ticket there was no primary, the governor's race and Vincent Sheheen, and so therefore we knew that the turnout for the primaries would be much lower than they had been in previous years,â?? said Jaime Harrison, chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party.
Nevertheless, while the number of voters participating in primaries is low, both Sawyer and Harrison agree that the low turnout doesn't lessen the importance of a primary election.
â??The primary elections in South Carolina are incredibly important just to figure out who's going to be on that ballot,â?? said Sawyer.
â??What impacts you on a daily basis are the things that go on-on a state and local level. Who you have representing you on county council, who you have representing you on the legislature, who is the governor of the state of South Carolina, all of those things have an impact on your life,â?? added Harrison.
Both Harrison and Sawyer say they don't expect the low voter turnout Tuesday to be a disadvantage for their respective parties.
They expect to see voter participation rise dramatically in November with so many big ticket races to be decided upon.
Runoffs will take place on June 24, 2014 and the general election will take place on November 4, 2014.