It takes a village to run an election.
Sumter County Director of Voter Registration & Elections Pat Jefferson said on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, she and her staff are very thankful for all the volunteers who pitched in to make Nov. 3, 2020, run as smoothly as possible.
She also wants to thank the Election Commissioners, the Legislative Delegation, poll workers and volunteers from both political parties for all their work.
“They came in on Sunday morning to help us open the absentee (ballot) envelopes and they came back on Tuesday and continued to open the outer envelopes and we can’t thank them enough for the service that was rendered,” she said.
She said election results will be certified at 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. The S.C. Election Commission will then begin building the database, she said, once the results are received.
Four satellite locations were used for Sumter County residents to cast in-person absentee ballots, and the use of those places was very successful even as several safety measures were put into place to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Once again, the City of Sumter and Sumter County Government worked seamlessly for the best possible outcome for all the residents of Sumter County, she said.
Jefferson said many people contributed water, soda, coffee and lunch for poll workers and she was very appreciative.
Voter turnout was slightly less than in 2006, she said, with a total of 67.25 percent of registered voters casting ballots yesterday. Out of 73,261 registered voters, there were 49,267 ballots cast.
In the Sumter Mayoral race, David Merchant received 7,034 votes, or 41.66 percent of the vote. Calvin K. Hastie Sr. received 4,750 votes, or 28.13 percent of the vote, according to the S.C. Election Commission’s website. For City Council, District 2, James B. Blassingame received 1,157 votes, or 40.47 percent of the votes, and Talitha R. Harrison received 837 votes, or 29.28 percent.
The runoff election for those two races will be held on Nov. 17, 2020, Jefferson said.
In races in which candidates ran unopposed in the general election, Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis was re-elected, as were Sen. Thomas McElveen, Rep. Will Wheeler, Rep. J. David Weeks, Rep. Murrell Smith, Rep. Wendy Brawley, Clerk of Court Jamie Campbell, Coroner Robbie Baker, Auditor Lauretha McCants, Treasurer Carolina Richardson, County Council District 5 Councilwoman Vivian Fleming-McGhaney, Councilman Eugene Baten, Councilman-Elect Carlton Washington, Sumter School District 5 Board member Daryl McGhaney and Sumter School District 7 Board member Barbara Roman Wilson Jackson.
In the S.C. House District 64 race, Kim Johnson defeated Cindy Risher. For Senate District 36, Kevin Johnson defeated Leon Winn.
In the Sumter County Council District 3 race, Vice Chairman Jimmy Byrd retained his seat by defeating Jason Johnson, 4,319 to 2,845.
City Councilman Steve Corley retained his District 4 seat, defeating Mark Dingle 1,377 to 754. For the District 6 Council seat, Gifford Shaw defeated Eddie Drayton, 1,853 to 846.
For Sumter School District 6, Gloria J. Rose Lee defeated three opponents.
In the Pinewood Town Council race, Mary Meadows and Betty Jones received 132 votes and 149 votes, respectively.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham defeated Jaime Harrison, Rep. Ralph Norman retained his District 5 seat by defeating Moe Brown and Sumter native Rep. Jim Clyburn retained his District 6 seat, besting two opponents.
Voters also approved the sale of alcohol on Sunday in Sumter County.