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Community : Top Stories Last Updated: Nov 20, 2012 - 10:45:07 AM


Daniel Island/Cainhoy ballot breakdown
By Elizabeth Bush
Nov 14, 2012 - 9:03:07 AM

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As they have done in many previous elections, the majority of Daniel Island voters went “red” on November 6, casting ballots in favor of Republican candidates.   
Approximately 3,030 of the 4,291 residents who hit the polls last week at the Daniel Island School selected presidential candidate Mitt Romney as their top pick to lead the nation, according to tallies posted at www.scvotes.org. Just over 1100 votes went to current President Barack Obama, who ultimately won the hard-fought nationwide contest. In the Cainhoy precinct, however, 77.55 percent of voters chose Obama, versus 21.53 percent for Romney.
Voter turnout at the area’s three precincts generally mirrored overall South Carolina numbers, with approximately 64.97 percent of 6,422 registered voters casting ballots at Daniel Island #1 (which encompasses Daniel Island Park and areas north on Clements Ferry Road), 68.69 percent at Daniel Island #2 (south of I-526 on Daniel Island), and 64.93 percent at Cainhoy.  The number of registered voters in Daniel Island’s two precincts increased considerably from the last presidential election, from 5,099 in 2008 to 6,402 in 2012.
 
Local incumbents win new terms
Voters were also asked to select several state representatives in the election, most of whom ran unopposed. With no official challengers on the ballot, other than a few write-in candidate votes, Senator Larry Grooms of District 37 and Representative Jim Merrill of District 99 easily won re-election. Merrill commented that the only opposition he has faced in his legislative career came when he first ran for office, in both the Republican Primary and the General Election.
“Since that time I have not had anyone run against me,” he said. “I like to think that is because I reflect the common sense ideology that I believe most people want to see from their representatives.  But you never can tell. It may be because most people are just too smart to run for office!”   
Merrill added that he is humbled that the Daniel Island and Cainhoy communities have shown so much support for him, as well as for his family, over the years.
“I am looking forward to accomplishing a number of goals in the coming year,” he said. “Having been the primary sponsor of the pension bill, the harbor deepening bill and a significant portion of the state budget last year was gratifying and I think we can improve on that record.”
Berkeley County Councilman Tim Callanan also earned another term in office after running without opposition. Callanan, like Rep. Merrill, earned 100 percent of the vote at the Cainhoy precinct, and a little more than 99 percent at Daniel Island’s two precincts.  
“What was weird for me is that districts one, two and three (for County Council) are supposed to have the same amount of constituents,” said Callanan, a Daniel Island resident. “So those three seats were up and it just goes to show you how much turnout we have on Daniel Island. I had 1000 more votes (here) than those guys from district one and three. It’s amazing how people come out to vote in numbers.”

Wait times on Daniel Island might prompt changes
Both Merrill and Callanan cited long wait times for voters casting ballots at Daniel Island 2, located inside the Daniel Island School multipurpose room, as cause for a potential revamp of precinct numbers. While lines were long at Daniel Island 2, the wait was considerably shorter for Daniel Island 1 voters.  Callanan suggested creating a new voting district for those residents living in the Nelliefield and Peninsula subdivisions, which both currently vote in Daniel Island 1, essentially giving a large portion of the Clements Ferry Road area its own precinct. This, along with a potential split of Daniel Island 2, would create a more equitable distribution among the area's precincts, he explained.
“They like to have numbers of about 1500 per precinct,” said Callanan. “And right now, the Daniel Island 2 precinct has close to 4,000, making it the largest precinct in the county.”
“As for the number of voters, we definitely need to address the disparity in wait times between Daniel Island 1 and 2,” added Merrill. “But most people were in good spirits and seemed eager to vote…We will definitely take another look at the precinct population figures and either increase the number of machines or create a new precinct or two.”
While South Carolina’s total voter turnout was lower than it was four years ago (75.6 percent in 2008 compared to 68.66 percent in 2012), Merrill felt the numbers were encouraging overall.  
“I really don't think it was low,” he said. “As a rule of thumb general elections pull between 50 and 60 percent, while primaries usually do less than 20 percent. More active communities like Daniel Island with a higher number of families with degrees usually jump up to around 70 percent, so we are in line with those figures.  Daniel Island/Cainhoy probably lost a few voters because of the long lines that would have put us right at that 70 percent figure.”

Voters say “Yes” for schools
 Voters on November 6 also approved a $198 million bond referendum for Berkeley County Schools. The district plans to build five new schools with the funding, including two in the Daniel Island area, and renovate 29 other schools across the county.
“We are thankful that the voters of Berkeley County support children, teachers and high quality schools,” said district spokesperson Amy Kovach, who also praised the efforts of the ‘Yes4Schools’ campaign team. “…We are thrilled with the outcome.”
The referendum passed at Daniel Island 1 with 72.53 percent of the vote, 69.78 percent at Daniel Island 2, and a remarkable 82.43 percent at the Cainhoy precinct.
“I am not aware of any precinct having higher favorability than the Cainhoy Precinct and it does not surprise me that this community would support public education,” she added. “The Cainhoy community is one of our most active, participatory, and supportive neighborhoods because Cainhoy Elementary and Middle School is a gem with fantastic opportunities for children. And, this community very much wants a high school within (a close) proximity so their children are not bussed more than one hour to Hanahan High School or Timberland High School.”

Other local winners
Other local winners on November 6 include U.S. House Representative Tim Scott (S.C. District 1); U.S. House Representative James Clyburn (S.C. District 6); State House Representative Joe Jefferson (District 102); Scarlett Wilson, Solicitor for Circuit 9; Janet Brown Jurosko, Berkeley County Auditor; Carolyn Umphlett, Berkeley County Treasurer; and Charles Glover, Berkeley County Soil and Water District Commissioner.  In addition, a statewide constitutional amendment to allow both the Governor and Lt. Governor to run on the same ticket and to be elected jointly also won approval by voters.
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