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2024 South Carolina Democratic Primary Sees Lowest Turnout in Recent Years: A Comparative Analysis

Fading bar chart of voter turnout

 

South Carolina Democratic primary turnout for 2024 and how it compares to previous years

In the recent 2024 Democratic primary in South Carolina, the voter turnout was significantly low, marking the poorest attendance in recent years. Approximately 131,000 South Carolinians cast their votes, constituting only around 4% of the total registered voters in the state. This figure has been the lowest in the past few Democratic presidential primaries, although those elections were notably more competitive.

Comparative Analysis of Voter Turnout

Looking back at previous years, the contrast becomes stark. In the 2020 Democratic primary, approximately 540,000 people, representing about 16% of the registered voters, participated. The turnout was slightly less in 2016, with 373,063 voters, accounting for more than 12% of registered voters. Although former President Barack Obama ran unopposed in the 2012 primary, the 2008 Democratic primary saw a healthy turnout of 532,151 voters, which catered to nearly 23% of registered voters, as per the South Carolina Election Commission.

Biden’s Victory in the South Carolina Primary

Despite the low turnout, President Biden had a smooth sailing to victory in the South Carolina Democratic primary, winning approximately 96% of the vote. The incumbent was facing two long-shot candidates but managed to outperform them with a vast margin. CBS News projects that the president is likely to win all 55 pledged delegates available in the state’s primary.

The projection implies a stronger support for Biden among Black voters, who played a critical role in reviving Biden’s 2020 campaign after lackluster results in the preceding state primaries.

Impact of Calendar Shift on Voter Turnout

This year, South Carolina’s Democratic primary was conducted early due to a rescheduling by the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The DNC’s objective was to prioritize a state with a more racially diverse electorate, serving as a better representation of the country’s population as a whole.

Nevertheless, traditional protocols were followed in New Hampshire, keeping its primaries first in the nation, although President Biden did not appear on the ballot.

Republican South Carolina Primary Schedule

In the case of the forthcoming Republican South Carolina primary, scheduled for February 24, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley will compete to gain traction against former President Donald Trump’s dominant presence. Primary polling booths will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the early voting period starting on February 12 and ending on February 22.

2024 South Carolina Democratic Primary Sees Lowest Turnout in Recent Years: A Comparative Analysis

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