ABBEVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – On Tuesday, Abbeville County voters overwhelmingly rejected a school bond referendum.

Just 17% of voters were in favor of the referendum with nearly 83% voting against.

Question 1 Results:

Yes – 556 (17.4%)
No – 2,640 (82.6%)

Question 2 Results:

Yes – 536 (17.1%)
No – 2,590 (82.9%)

Voter turnout for the referendum was 20.5%.

“Today’s the day we’ve been waiting on because this is the day the public gets to tell us what’s on their mind, whether they’ll support it or not,” said Abbeville County School District Superintendent Dr. Mason Gary.

On the ballot, voters were asked whether they’d support $55.7 million in bonds to support upgrades at Abbeville and Dixie High Schools.

“I’m very hopeful the public will respond; I hope there’s a high voter turnout,” said Gary.

The first question on the ballot asked voters to support new cafeterias and academic wings at both schools, with a $43.8 million price tag. Voters also considered an $11.9 million question regarding new locker rooms, gyms, and tracks at both schools.

Superintendent Gary said he was hopeful the referendum would pass and said if it did, work would start soon on the projects.

“Design would work heavily from now until the fall, or through the fall probably. I would hope construction could begin as early as next year,” said Gary.

If the referendum fails, he said it’s back to the drawing board and he’d want to hear from community members who voted ‘no’.

“If ours was not going to be supported, I would love to see in writing from them, what is your plan, what is the cost, what is the design, and hear input from them,” said Gary.

As of 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, the election director said there was a 9% voter turnout. Poll workers said there’s usually an afternoon rush of voters.

“A lot of people will come in around like lunchtime, or towards the end when they’re getting off. We usually have a lot of workers come in after 3 p.m.,” said poll worker Ke’Shunna Morton.

She said voter participation plays a crucial role in the community.

“Because your voice matters, like every person contributes to this,” said Morton.