Here’s why you should vote in the 2023 City of Charleston Municipal Election

These candidates, if elected, will help shape the City of Charleston’s future over their four-year term.

Aerial image of downtown Charleston, SC

Your vote matters.

Photo by @charlestonspired

This year, six candidates are throwing their hats in the ring for the mayoral race. Incumbent Mayor John Tecklenburg (who was sworn into office in January 2016) will take on five challengers: William Cogswell, Mika Gadsden, Debra Gammons, Clay Middleton, and Peter Shahid.

In less than a week, on Tuesday, Nov. 7, your vote will decide which candidate becomes Charleston’s mayor for the next four years, along with several seats on the City Council.

How many people actually vote?

On average, fewer voters turn out for municipal elections. The average voter turnout in South Carolina for a presidential election is 70%. But in 2021, only ~12.5% of eligible voters participated in Charleston’s municipal elections, similar to our neighbors in Greenville, SC whose voter turnout was ~13% that year.

So far, 6,000 early votes have been cast in the Holy City for the current election. Will you join them?

Our goal at CHStoday is to arm you with the tools and the knowledge to increase that number so more Charlestonians have their voice heard.

Why does it matter?

Your vote for Mayor and City Council members will determine who shapes the Holy City’s:

  • Budget
  • Development
  • Emergency services
  • Public transportation

What do I need to know?

First, bookmark our voting guide. Here, you’ll find who’s on the ballot, how to check your registration status, and where your polling place is located.

Next, research your candidates. provides information on the candidates as well as other issues on the ballot. We recommend reading multiple sources to learn about all of the candidates from different points of view.

At CHStoday, we aim to cover local elections in a way that educates and activates our community with unbiased information to encourage individual voter participation (i.e. vote for whoever + whatever you want to, just make sure to vote). To learn more, check out our Editorial Ethics Policy.