Low voter turn-out in Darlington County elections, two races head to run-off
By Melissa Rollins, Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
The voters in Darlington County did not come out in droves Nov. 7; quite the opposite in fact. Only 20 percent of registered voters cast their vote, though there were elections in all four corners of the county. Lamar and Society Hill had the highest voter turnout where voters had a decision to make about who they wanted to be their mayor. Two races, one each in Hartsville and Darlington, will go to a runoff.
In Lamar, Darnell Byrd-McPherson took 204 votes (52.31 percent of the vote) against 186 votes (47.69 percent) for Guy Clements. Lamar Town Council will have Lang Howell (218 votes) and Tamron McManus (184 votes) as representatives after the two garnered the two highest percentages of votes in a three-person race for two available seats; Sherry Besecker came in third with 83 votes. Eight write-in votes were cast in this race.
Society Hill Mayor Tommy Bradshaw won re-election, getting 180 votes (89.55 percent) to councilmember and challenger Michelle Steen’s 21 votes (10.45 percent). Town councilmember Carolyn Oliver kept her seat after getting 119 votes (34.8 percent) while councilmember Denise Douglas’ 87 votes (25.44 percent) meant that she lost out to challenger Tammy Tucker Gandy’s 136 votes (39.77 percent) in a three-way race for two seats with expiring terms.
The three-person race for longtime Darlington City Councilman Coleman Cannon’s seat representing Ward 1 will go to a runoff after the top vote-getter, Sheila Baccus with 222 votes (47.64 percent), did not meet with the 50 percent threshold to be declared the winner. Cannon garnered 129 votes (27.68 percent), while third candidate Audrey DuBose-Gore got 114 votes (24.46 percent). This race also had one write-in vote. The races for Ward 2 and 3 were uncontested with Elaine Reed and John Segars winning another term.
Also of note on the ballot in the City of Darlington was the Sunday Alcohol Sales question. Voters were asked: “Shall the South Carolina Department of Revenue be authorized to issue temporary permits in this City of Darlington, South Carolina for a period not to exceed twenty-four hours to allow the possession, sale, and consumption of alcoholic liquors by the drink to bona fide nonprofit organizations and business establishments authorized to be license for consumption-on-premise sales and to allow the sale of beer and wine at permitted off-premises locations without regard to the days or hours of sales.” Voters gave a resounding affirmative answer to this question with 518 votes (73.68 percent) in favor with only 185 persons (26.32 percent) voting no.
Hartsville City Council District 1 voters were split on candidates Tre Gammage, Carolyn Govan and Adlena F. Graham who brought in 46 (42.2 percent), 26 (23.85 percent), and 36 (33.03 percent) votes respectively. One write-in vote was cast. For Hartsville City Council District 3, voters were a little more decisive with Teresa L. Mack winning with 137 votes (58.05 percent) to Trevor McDonald’s 99 votes (41.95 percent).
Darlington’s Ward 1 and Hartsville’s District 1 will have a run-off on November 21. Voters will cast their vote in the same location as the first time. Voters with any questions can contact the Darlington County Elections and Registrations at 843-398-4900.