Heavy winds caused power outages, delays at in-person absentee voting precincts


TRAVELERS REST, S.C. (WSPA) – Hurricane Zeta swept through the Upstate bringing heavy winds and rain which left thousands of residents without power. However, even with the inclement weather and lack of power, this didn’t stop voters from showing up the polls to cast their ballots in the dark.

The Renfrew Baptist church building, an in-person absentee satellite voting location in Travelers Rest, was without power from approx. 8 a.m. well into the late afternoon hours.

Voter turnout has been high since in-person absentee voting began and the storm did not slow down voters on Thursday. Lines were wrapped around the building, and voters still waited hours.

According to manager James Pierce, Greenville County elections director Conway Belangia received notice of the outage and found a way to keep voting machines running.

“I got here at about 7 o’clock, everything was operational and all the machines were working. We were ready to start processing voters then the lights went–ambient,” said James Pierce, poll manager, said.

Polls opened at 6:30 a.m. which is around the time heavy winds began to pick up in Travelers Rest, so Pierce decided to set up a safe indoor waiting area in the church’s gym to keep voters safe indoors.

“It was raining sideways as we hear about. Thanks to Renfrew Church we made arrangements where they could be inside in the gymnasium,” Pierce said, “We explained everything to them and gave them the options.”

Voters briefly stood in the dark while casting their ballots on the illuminated screens while volunteers worked diligently to keep lines moving. Pierce is hoping to have the power restored by Friday morning.

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