The general election is Nov. 3. That may seem like a while from now, but Election Day is only 40 days away.
We want you to be ready to cast your ballot with all the confidence in the world, so we’re breaking down all the 2020 election must-knows for you. In South Carolina, you’ll be voting for a Senate representative, Congressional House representatives, and of course, the President of the United States. There are no ballot measures this year — AKA state amendments.
In this guide, you’ll find registration + polling information, maps of local voting districts, a breakdown of candidate priorities, candidate trackers to follow visits and debates, a timeline of important dates, and an election dictionary of terms you should know.
Basically, if you have a question about the upcoming election, this is your resource. So go ahead and bookmark it, and as always, reach out to us if you have any questions we didn’t answer.
Head to the polls
Not sure if you’re registered to vote? Check here.
Need to register? Learn how to do that here. Note: You have until Oct. 4 to register.
Need an absentee ballot? Read all about how to get one here.
Waiting until election day? Polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. If you’re in line by 7 p.m., you will be able to vote.
Looking for COVID-19 safety information? Find coronavirus updates from the South Carolina Election Commission here.
Candidates by district
Raise your hand if you’re a visual learner. 👋 To determine your districts, check out the maps + resources below, then use your districts to identify your candidates.
You can also identify your voting districts by checking your voter registration status or sample ballot. Find information on how congressional and state legislative district boundaries are established here.
South Carolina US Congressional districts
South Carolina House districts
South Carolina Senate districts
Charleston County political districts
Meet the candidates
Since you probably already know about the presidential candidates, we’re focusing on what you need to know on a local level. Keep reading for a rundown of South Carolina’s US Senate candidates, US House candidates, and candidates running for other local seats. To identify candidate priorities, we relied on verified candidate questionnaires submitted to the nonpartisan site Ballotpedia + issues listed directly on candidate websites.
Lindsey Graham (Incumbent) | Republican | Priorities: Supports major infrastructure bill to rebuild roads, bridges, airports. Promotes policies that will create jobs in SC, provide better pay for troops and favors healthcare that puts patients in charge of their medical choices.
Jaime Harrison | Democrat | Priorities: Protecting health care coverage, growing the middle class, protecting seniors, ending poverty + providing affordable education.
Bill Bledsoe | Constitution | No information available.
US House of Representatives
Joe Cunningham (Incumbent) | Democrat | Priorities: Banning offshore drilling, believes there should be term limits for all members of Congress, supporting veterans, reducing the cost of healthcare + more.
Nancy Mace | Republican | Priorities: Supports lower taxes for all. Restoring the economy through targeted housing help, relief for small businesses, expanded access to + lower costs of healthcare, rebuilding America’s infrastructure, veteran support + more.
James Clyburn (Incumbent) | Democrat | Priorities: Looking to expand the Rural Energy Savings Program, developing a third Heritage Corridor to highlight Revolutionary & Civil War sites, working to make his 10-20-30 plan a permanent law.
Mark Hackett | Constitution | Priorities: Believes the US Government should be guided by the Constitution.
John McCollum | Republican | Priorities: Recruiting employers to District 6 to take advantage of the Opportunity Zone legislation. Better access to services, healthcare, education, infrastructure + quality of life.
Emily Cegledy | Democrat | Priorities: Prioritizing mental health services, investing in rural broadband, equitable funding for students in every SC county, move the state to 100% clean energy by 2050, end gerrymandering + more.
Kathryn B. Whitaker | Democrat | Priorities: Fully funding K-12 public education, shifting away from standardized testing, establishing statewide pre-kindergarten, expanding public transit, prioritizing maternal health, investing in SC’s court system + more.
Sean Bennett (Incumbent) | Republican | Priorities: Removing regulations that restrict access to healthcare professionals, ensuring that SC’s tax funds are returned to the state for its use, encouraging public education to innovate + more.
Sandy Senn (Incumbent) | Republican | Priorities: Preserving Highway 61, implementing more vocational and technological training in high schools, focusing flood prevention on neighborhoods individually + more.
Sam Skardon | Democrat | Priorities: Implementing universal pre-K, raise minimum wage, investing in electric vehicle infrastructure, committing to bold renewable energy goals, improve family medical leave + more.
Marlon Kimpson (Incumbent) | Democrat | Priorities: Public education, protecting working men and women on the job, protecting water quality, encouraging advances in energy efficiency and renewable power such as wind and solar, advocating for racial and gender diversity + more.
George “Chip” Campsen (Incumbent) | Republican | Priorities: Advocating against offshore drilling, conserving natural resource lands, wetlands, historical properties, archeological sites, authorizing tax-exempt private investment accounts to fund college and graduate school expenses + more.
Richard Hricik | Democrat | Priorities: Public education, term limits and PAC money, gerrymandering, making roads safer for bicyclists + pedestrians, equal protection under the law (LGBTQ+ community), gun safety + the Second Amendment + more.
Brian Adams | Republican | Priorities: Cutting unnecessary spending in order to increase teacher pay and put more money in the classroom, supporting law enforcement, taxes + spending (against tax increase), working with local government and elected officials on infrastructure improvements + more.
Debbie Chatman Bryant | Democrat | Priorities: Increasing funding to build public health infrastructure + programs, appointing a nonpartisan, independent special commission made up of citizens to reflect the state’s demographics, increasing teacher pay, banning offshore drilling to protect our coastal resources and tourism economy + more.
Rodney Buncum | Republican | Priorities: Creating legislation to provide job opportunities with livable wages, improving state’s ranking position in education, improving traffic congestions, public safety, preserving coastal and in-land environments + more.
Margie Bright Matthews (Incumbent) | Democrat | No information available.
State House of Representatives
JA Moore (Incumbent) | Democrat | Priorities: Ending predatory lending practices, passing a stimulus package for restaurants, ensuring safe drinking water, improving mental health resources in schools + more.
Gil Gatch | Republican | Priorities: Making the State House + state government a more transparent and accountable institution, implementing Summerville leadership attentive to the community’s needs + more.
Jen Gibson | Democrat | Priorities: Evaluating students + teachers without standardized tests, providing additional time for teachers to plan and collaborate, reducing school suspensions, investing in flood mitigation in vulnerable communities and sewer lines to rural communities + more.
Lee Hewitt (Incumbent) | Republican | Priorities: Reaching out to potential employers to recruit jobs to District 108, protecting natural resources, lessening the impact of growth-induced traffic + more.
Deon Tedder | Democrat | Priorities: Implementing more affordable housing, increasing focus on women’s healthcare, beginning to work towards a green economy, expanding voting options to all residents + more.
William Cogswell (Incumbent) | Republican | Priorities: Improving coordination between local + state government, + increasing authority of local government, givinging parents more of a say in school policy decisions + more.
Ted Vining | Republican | No information available.
Joe Bustos | Republican | Priorities: Working with local governments to help meet infrastructure needs, education, supports limited school choice through education scholarship accounts, protecting waterways + more.
Lin Bennett (Incumbent) | Republican | Priorities: Increasing teachers’ salaries, working with the Governor’s Office, SCDOT, the Coastal Conservation League to preserve natural resources, improving infrastructure and flooding issues + more.
Brad Jayne | Alliance | Priorities: Advocating for road projects such as the extension of the Glenn McConnell Parkway, improving public education through customization, creating innovative job and career training programs based on apprenticeship and real-world training + more.
Ed Sutton | Democrat | Priorities: Properly funding, maintaining, and improving the public education system, partnering with city officials and state lawmakers to advocate for legislation and policy to strengthen and modernize infrastructure, protecting coastlines + more.
Spencer Wetmore | Democrat | Priorities: Safeguarding beaches from offshore drilling and over-development, taking care of teachers by boosting their salaries, offering professional support and providing quality resources, implementing immediate Medicaid expansion + more.
Carroll O’Neal | Republican | Priorities: Finding a solution to uncontrolled growth, infrastructure improvements, proposing that students from grades 7th to 12th have the choice to pursue a career that doesn’t require a college degree + more.
Krystle Matthews (Incumbent) | Democrat | Priorities: Removing the six cent sales tax added to the purchase of menstrual products, removing barriers to quality healthcare faced by the elderly, supporting business growth + more.
Alex Thornton | Libertarian | Priorities: Retaining earning of citizens through government transparency beginning with a financial audit of the South Carolina state budget, legalizing and decriminalizing the sale, use, and cultivation of marijuana, repealing South Carolina’s Certificate of Need law + more.
Sheriff – Charleston County
Al Cannon (Incumbent) | Republcian | No information available.
Treasurer – Charleston County
Mary Tinkler (Incumbent) | Democrat | Priorities: Advocating for taxpayers and investing the county’s money wisely, modernizing the county treasurer’s office by streamlining services, cutting out waste + more.
Charleston County Council District 3
Rob Wehrman | Democrat | Priorities: Encouraging development + housing patterns that will reduce commuting distance while discouraging gridlock, investing in alternate transit options, funding long term affordable housing solutions, making sure storm-water drainage systems are cleared regularly + more.
Charleston County Council District 4
Henry E. Darby (Incumbent) | Democrat | Priorities: Diversity in the workforce and procurement of the county, fair and equitable pay for all employees, employment for the underprivileged
Charleston County Council District 6
Melissa Couture | Libertarian | Priorities: Turning challenges into opportunities to transform Charleston into an advanced, forward-thinking region with opportunity for all residents.
Darryl Ray Griffin | Republican | Priorities: Addition of a flyover going back towards I-526 from Glenn McConnell, enhancing communication + transparency within the local government, meeting the needs of residents to improve quality of life + more.
Charleston County Council District 7
Brantley Moody (Incumbent) | Republican | Priorities: Revitalization of West Ashley, completion of I-526, working closely with overlapping municipalities, countrywide economic development, responsive to constituent needs, guard the use of tax dollars.
Sean R. Thornton | Libertarian | No information available.
Coroner – Charleston County
Herbert S. Fielding | Democrat | Priorities: Launching a full assessment and audit of the office to identify administrative inefficiencies and budgetary waste, bringing diversity to the office to ensure that our investigators and staff reflects our Charleston County communities + more.
Auditor – Charleston County
Peter J. Tecklenburg (Incumbent) | Democrat | Priorities: No information available.
Clerk of Court – Charleston County
Dan Gregory | Democrat | Priorities: Auditing the Charleston County Clerk of Court’s Office, extending court hours on certain days, opening a self-help center in the Clerk’s Office, speedier time to trial + more.
Consolidated School Board North Area | Chris Collins, Kristen French, Kevin D. Hollinshead Sr., Charles Monteith, Courtney Waters
Consolidated School Board Peninsula | Lee J. Bennett Jr., Regina Duggins, Lauren Herterich, Tony E. Lewis
Consolidated School Board West Ashley | Francis Marion Beylotte III, Erica Cokley, Chris Fraser, Helen Davis Frazier, Charles Glover Sr., John R. Prioleau, Hunter Schimpff
Constituent School Board Cooper River Area 2 District 4 | Janna Wilson
Constituent School Board Cooper River Area 3 District 4 | Lala B. Fyall
Constituent School Board Cooper River At Large District 4 | Michael Garnett
Constituent School Board James Island District 3 | Sue McManus, Amy Nowacki, George Tempel
Constituent School Board Moultrie Sullivan’s Island District 2 | Trey Tezza
Constituent School Board Moultrie Unincorporated District 2 | Dana H. Krause, Robin Gore Moses
Constituent School Board Peninsula District 20 | Downing Child, F. X. Clasby, Kady Preston
Constituent School Board St. James Santee District 1 | Thomas L. Colleton Jr., Chayann Simpson, Marie Snyder-Facine
Constituent School Board St. Johns District 9 | Joseph P. Antol, Pat Cline, Gertie S. Ford, Leon S. Green
Constituent School Board St. Pauls District 23 | Blanche Bowens, Marvin Lamar Bowens, Althea V. Hamilton-Gibbs, Josephine G. Matthews, Tiffany C. Deas-Smalls, Richmond Truesdale
Constituent School Board St. Andrews District 10 | Radia L. Baxter, Joy Brown, Janie Daniels, Elvin L. Speights Sr.
State Solicitor Circuit 9
St. Andrews Public Service District Section 1
Christopher W. Perot | Nonpartisan | No information available.
St. Andrews Public Service District Section 2
Public Service District, James Island
Susan Milliken | Nonpartisan | Priorities: Utilizing employees as a resource, prioritizing infrastructure projects, seeking collaboration and cost-sharing with other entities + implementing more sustainable practices.
Kathy Woolsey (Incumbent) | Nonpartisan | Priorities: Continuing to strengthen communication between JIPSD and the Town of James Island + Charleston County, addressing the aging wastewater infrastructure, filling + retaining firemen jobs.
Soil and Water District Commission
Joseph Kelley Bowers III | Nonpartisan | Priorities: Believes issues surrounding rapid development, flooding + water quality can be effectively mitigated by working closer with the county and municipal governments to best understand the environmental impact of zoning.
John H. Smoak (Incumbent) | Nonpartisan | Priorities: Addressing rapid growth, slowing down rapid building until proper drainage structures are in place, providing citizens with opportunities to learn more about getting involved with community gardens and plantings + more.
Campaign stops, debates, candidate visits + more
Looking to keep up with when the candidates will be in town? Check out The Post and Courier’s candidate tracker that will help you identify their nearest campaign stops.
General Election timeline
Mark your calendars. 🗓️ Find all of your General Election voting dates + deadlines listed below.
Sep. 22: National Voter Registration Day
Nov. 3: Election Day
Nov. 4: Preliminary results expected; certified results could take longer.
- Oct. 2: Voter registration deadline, in-person by 5 p.m. (unless county board holds weekend hours)
- Oct. 4: Voter registration deadline, email or fax by 11:59 p.m.
- Oct. 5: Voter registration deadline by mail (must be postmarked by this date)
- Oct. 5: In-person absentee voting available
- Oct. 30: Deadline to apply for absentee by mail ballot, 5 p.m.
- Oct. 31: County boards must hold absentee voting hours from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
- Nov. 2: Deadline to vote absentee in person, 5 p.m.
- Nov. 3: Absentee ballot return deadline, 7 p.m.
Note: The SC Votes website includes a warning regarding the deadline to apply for absentee by mail ballot. It reads “voters should apply at least one week prior to election day to allow adequate mail time. Applying late puts voters at risk of being unable to return ballots by the deadline of 7:00 p.m. on election day.”
As we get deeper into the election cycle, there’s a lot of terminology circulating out there, and we want to make sure you have a (somewhat) comprehensive resource to help you discern some meaning from it all. We give you CHStoday’s election dictionary — or, if you’ll indulge us, our electionary. If we missed a word or phrase you’ve been wondering about, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments section to let us know. Source: Votesmart.org
Absentee voting — Similar to mail-in voting, this process allows voters to submit their ballot through the mail or in-person, without going to the polls on Election Day.
Bond — A debt security issued by a local, state, or national government to support spending toward specific government programs or obligations. Often requires constituent support and appears on ballots for voter determination.
Certified results — The final and official results of an election, as verified by the local elections office. These results confirm that all ballots have been counted.
Citizen — Any person who is a legally-recognized member of a locality, state, or country. Except under exclusionary circumstances, all citizens have the right to exercise their vote.
Congressional districts — The US is divided into 435 jurisdictions for the purposes of electing members to the House of Representatives in Congress. Each district is meant to be proportionately sized for its resident population.
Constituents — The voters within a specific locality or district; the people elected officials represent.
Electoral College — The voters of each state that formally elect the United States President and Vice President. Each state has as many electoral college votes as it does U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators in Congress combined.
General election — A regular election between candidates of multiple parties, as opposed to a primary election where the candidates are within the same political party.
House of Representatives — One of two houses within the federal branch of government called Congress. Each state has representatives based on its population.
Incumbent — If a candidate running for election is also the current seat-holder for that position, they are called the incumbent.
Mail-in ballot — An official ballot that is submitted to the local elections board by mail instead of in-person at a designated polling place.
Polling place — A designated location where voters cast their ballots in-person on Election Day or during an early voting period.
Popular vote — The raw number of votes cast by individual voters within a locality, state, or country. Within the US system of voting, the popular vote can differ from the deciding votes of the Electoral College.
Preliminary results — The projected or anticipated results of an election, usually announced when the majority of districts are reporting. These results are not definitive and can change as ballots continue to be processed and counted on or after Election Day.
Referendum — The legal process of submitting to the voters for their approval or rejection of proposed state or rejection of proposed state of local laws or constitutional amendments.
Senate — One of two houses within the federal branch of government called Congress. Each state has two senators.
Swing state — Any US state where the level of support for two major political parties is considered to be fairly equal on both sides.
Unaffiliated voters — Voters who are not registered to vote with a specific political party are called unaffiliated.
Voter turnout — The percentage of registered, eligible voters within a locality who cast a ballot during any given election.
This is part of our ongoing election coverage. You can learn more about our Editorial Ethics Policy and how we prioritize information regarding the upcoming elections here.