COLUMBIA, S.C. - More than two-thirds of all registered voters in South Carolina cast ballots for the presidential election, preliminary figures show.
With two precincts not yet reported, unofficial results show 1.59 million people cast ballots in the presidential election. That's 68.5 percent of the state's 2.32 million registered voters. In 2000, 1.38 million people voted in the presidential race, or 61 percent of the state's 2.27 million registered voters, Election Commission records show.
"The turnout was fantastic - approximately 70 percent of registered voters cast ballots - and we thank every voter for their patience and participation," Marci Andino, executive director of the State Election Commission, said in a news release.
The top-of-the ballot race showed the shifting fortunes for Democrats and Republicans in South Carolina.
President Bush fared far better across South Carolina than he did in 2000 and Democratic Sen. John Kerry did not do as well in as many counties as former Vice President Al Gore in 2000.
Bush's results were higher on Tuesday in 34 counties and worse in 12. Kerry's results were better than Gore's in 16 counties, but worse in 30.
Some of Bush's largest gains came in counties that traditionally vote Democrat.
For instance, Gore carried Marlboro County with 64 percent of the vote in 2000 and Bush had 34 percent. But Tuesday, Bush had 40 percent and Kerry had 58 percent.
On the other hand, the unofficial results show Williamsburg County swung more toward Kerry. He picked up 65 percent of the vote, up from the 59 percent Gore won in 2000. Bush finished with 35 percent of that county's vote, down from 40 percent in 2000.
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