FLORENCE, S.C. — Jaime Harrison, the former chair of South Carolina’s Democratic Party who is running for Senate, visited the polls in Florence, S.C., on Tuesday, urging voters to help him “shock the world” by unseating the Republican incumbent, Senator Lindsey Graham.
Throughout the day, some polling places, like the Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, were relatively sleepy, having already seen roughly 85 percent of voters in the precinct turn out in early voting, poll workers said. Others, like a day care center nearby, had seen dozens standing in line starting at 7 a.m. Outside was a lively parking lot, with food trucks and a DJ hired by supporters of Mr. Harrison who said they were hoping to lure last-minute voters and maximize turnout.
Jon Brown, 49, who works for the state in disability and special needs administration, said he had deliberately waited to vote for Mr. Harrison and the Biden-Harris ticket on Election Day itself. “It’s tradition,” he said. “I know every vote makes a difference, but on Election Day you feel like you’re part of the whole process: Go out and participate on the day, go home that night and see the results.”
Still, many South Carolinians acknowledged that tradition looked markedly different this year, anticipating a long night and potentially contested results to come — not only in the presidential race but possibly in the Senate race, too. “It won’t be the typical, after 7 o’clock here in South Carolina, the A.P. calls for one side or the other,” Mr. Harrison projected. “I think this race will be determined by probably less than 50,000 votes.”
McKenzie Jordan, 20, cast her vote for Mr. Graham on Tuesday. “He’s been our senator for, what? Years,” she said of Mr. Graham, who is seeking a fourth term. “He’s trusted inside of the Senate. I feel like he’s getting the job done.” It was Ms. Jordan’s first time voting in a presidential election. A junior at Coker College who works part-time at a local pet store, she supported President Trump but believed neither result would bring calm to the country.
“No matter who wins today,” she said, “people are going to be mad.”
Many around the state expressed extreme surprise that a Democratic candidate like Mr. Harrison had a fighting chance in a Republican stronghold like South Carolina. Waiting in line to vote early in Charleston on Monday, Jesse Spohn, a window cleaner, said he planned to support Mr. Trump and Mr. Harrison.” He was surprised that polls show a close race between and Mr. Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. in his home state.
“It’s like, for real? Is it really that close?” Mr. Brown wondered aloud. “It’s so close because the Republicans created the opportunity for Democrats.”
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