Your guide through the Nov. 3 election ballot

Elections Chief Hoyt Campbell.

Early voting last week in Darlington. PHOTOS BY BOBBY BRYANT

By Bobby Bryant

Let’s start with the biggest ones:
For U.S. president, it’s Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden.
For U.S. Senate from South Carolina, it’s Lindsey Graham vs. Jaime Harrison.
For S.C. Senate in Darlington County, it’s Gerald Malloy vs. J.D. Chaplin.
For Darlington County sheriff, it’s James Hudson vs. Michael August (with supporters of outgoing Sheriff Tony Chavis running a write-in campaign for him).
Those aren’t all the races on Darlington County ballots Nov. 3, of course, but they are the most-watched and some are likely to be the most dramatic of the night.
Trump vs. Biden? Pundits say the fate of the world hangs on this one. Graham vs. Harrison? Vast amounts of campaign cash have been spent as challenger Harrison tries to oust entrenched incumbent Graham. Malloy vs. Chaplin? Malloy has the money and the incumbency, but could Hartsville farmer Chaplin tap into the waves of national voter discontent? Hudson vs. August? Hudson knocked Chavis out of the Democratic nomination for sheriff, but August and write-ins may be wild cards.
It’s all part of General Election 2020 next week. Nationally, it’s the end of one of the most chaotic presidential races ever. And even locally, campaigning has been knocked off course by the COVID-19 pandemic, and residents who vote in person next Tuesday and likely to see lots of face masks and plastic shields at polling workers’ desks.
It’s been a long, strange campaign in many races, and the presidential race might go on for days or weeks after the voting as officials fight over contested ballots and absentee ballots. Locally, though, we’re likely to get immediate answers to the question: Who won?
Here is a trip through a more or less typical Darlington County ballot. It won’t exactly match what voters in some precincts see (for example, only residents living in school board District 2 will be able to cast ballots for the seat held by the late Connell Delaine).
We start with a question that asks whether you want to cast a straight-party vote: Constitution, Green, Republican, Alliance, Libertarian, Democratic. If you want to back all the candidates running under a single party’s banner, then you’re pretty much done. If not, there are more choices ….

PRESIDENT/VICE PRESIDENT: Your ballot shows the giant parties – GOP and Democrats – second and fifth on the list. Your choices here are:
Green Party: Howle Hawkins, Angela Walker
Republican: Donald J. Trump, Michael R. Pence (incumbents)
Alliance: Roque Rocky De La Fuente, Darcy Richardson
Libertarian: Jo Jorgensen, Jeremy Spike Cohen
Democratic: Joseph R. Biden, Kamala D. Harris

U.S. SENATE: You can’t possibly have missed the barrage of TV commercials for the two top candidates in this race, but here are your choices as listed on the ballot:
Constitution: Bill Bledsoe
Republican: Lindsey Graham (incumbent)
Democratic: Jaime Harrison

U.S. HOUSE: This has been a quiet race. Your choices on the ballot:
Republican: Tom Rice (incumbent)
Democratic: Melissa Ward Watson

Republican: J.D. Chaplin
Democratic: Gerald Malloy (incumbent)

Democratic: Robert Williams (incumbent)

(Williams has no opposition unless it comes in the form of write-ins.)

Democratic: Will Rogers (incumbent)
(Rogers has no opposition on the ballot.)

DARLINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF: Challenger James Hudson Jr. scored a surprise upset in the June primaries, taking the Democratic nomination away from incumbent Tony Chavis. Supporters of Chavis are running a write-in campaign although Chavis pledged to back the Democratic nominee, whoever it was. Your ballot choices:
Republican: Michael B. August
Democratic: James Hudson Jr.

Democratic: Scott B. Suggs (incumbent)
(Suggs has no opposition on the ballot.)

Democratic: J. Todd Hardee (incumbent)
(Hardee has no opposition on the ballot.)

Republican: Angie L. Suggs
Democratic: Margaret R. Rogers (incumbent)

Republican: Jeff Robinson (incumbent)
(Robinson has no opposition on the ballot.)

DARLINGTON COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 1: Another surprise upset in the June primaries came when challenger Angie Stone Godbold defeated veteran councilman Bobby Kilgo for the nomination. The ballot reads:
Republican: Angie Stone Godbold
(Godbold has no opposition.)

Nonpartisan: Thomas G. Chaplin
(Chaplin has no opposition.)

Depending on where you live in the county, your ballot may also feature a race for Darlington County school board. Four seats on the board are open.
In District 2 (the Society Hill area), voters must choose a successor to 18-year board member Connell Delaine, who died Oct. 9, but whose name remains on ballots. One challenger, Lucas W. Reed of Mechanicsville, filed to oppose him. Since Delaine’s death, another candidate, Carl Goodson, has announced he is running a write-in campaign for the seat.
In District 4 (the Lamar area), school board chairman Warren Jeffords is running for re-election and has no opposition. In District 6 (south Hartsville), incumbent Charles Govan is being opposed by Adell “Coffee” McManus-McCoy. In District 8 (north Hartsville), incumbent Jamie Morphis has no opposition for another term.
Polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Because the News & Press must go to press on the Monday before the election, we won’t have results in the newspaper dated Nov. 4. However, you will be able to find live coverage of the election results on our website,, and on our Facebook page.

Page 1 of a typical Darlington ballot.

Page 2 of a typical Darlington ballot.

Author: Stephan Drew

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