91,000 South Carolina ballots already cast in early voting

COLUMBIA, S.C. — More than 91,000 votes have already been cast in South Carolina for Tuesday’s primaries.

Nearly 80,000 of those votes were cast during the state’s new early voting period, according to data from the South Carolina Election Commission that doesn’t include figures for Friday which was the last day for early voting.

South Carolina lawmakers approved true early voting for the first time for the June primaries, allowing anyone to vote weekdays for the two weeks before the election without an excuse.

An additional 12,700 absentee votes have been received as of Thursday morning, election officials said.

The 80,000 early votes would be about 13% of the votes cast in the 2018 midterm primaries, which included a highly-contested Republican governor primary. In 2022, Gov. Henry McMaster only faces an underfunded, mostly unknown opponent, Harrison Musselwhite.

Another factor that could lower turnout at the polls Tuesday is record heat. Highs are forecast to be 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or above across much of the state with the humidity making it feel several degrees hotter. Doctors recommend spending as little time as possible outside when temperatures reach 100 degrees.

(WATCH BELOW: Primary elections set stage for contentious showdowns in General Election)