DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. — A spokesperson for South Carolina's Board of Elections told NBC 14,000 votes in South Carolina's Dorchester County did not counted Tuesday night due to a ballot printing error. Instead, election officials will need to manually count each ballot.
Dorchester County's BOE told WCNC the mail-in ballots did not have the right timing marks printed at the top, which led to the scanner not being able to register them properly on Election Day.
The county officials plan to make a copy of all of the invalidated ballots and then take those copies and manually enter the votes into an election machine to be tallied after the other votes are counted.
Dorchester County went for Trump in 2016, and the state has already been called for the Republican candidate tonight.
However, the state's Senate race between GOP incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison was close for hours until Graham was determined to be the winner.
The contest turned into the most competitive and talked about U.S. Senate race in South Carolina so far this century, as TV airwaves were flooded with campaign commercials, atypical for a state that usually doesn’t see high stakes political drama in the general election.
One thing about the race is for certain: It’s the most expensive contest in the state’s history. Well over $100 million was spent combined by the two campaigns, with a combination of direct fundraising and political action committee (PAC) money pouring in to try and sway the public’s opinion.
Polls in the weeks prior to the election varied on the race, with some showing it a statistical tie, while others had Graham up by several points.
Graham, 65, was seeking his fourth term in the Senate and was hoping to extend his 26-year-long career in Congress. That career includes the time he served in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Harrison, 44, is the former South Carolina Democratic Party Chair who’s worked as a lobbyist.
Graham has become one of the most powerful senators in Congress, sitting on the Armed Services Committee and chairing the Senate Judiciary Committee. At first a critic of President Donald Trump, he became one of the president’s staunchest allies, which helped boost his standing among conservatives in the state.
No Democrat has won a statewide election in South Carolina since 2006, and the late time a Democrat won a U.S. Senate seat was back in 1998 when Fritz Hollings earned his last term in office to cap a long political career.
But Harrison mounted a surprising campaign that drew national attention, as he attacked Graham for his closeness to Trump. Videos of the candidates’ televised debates have drawn combined over 1 million YouTube views.
South Carolina voters can check the status of their mail-in ballots here.
WCNC election results for the Carolinas posted here: /elections