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Fairgoers Pick Favorites Using State’s New Voting System

For Immediate Release:                     Contact:  Chris Whitmire
October 21, 2005                             (803) 734-9070                                       


(Columbia, SC) Visitors to the S.C. State Fair not only had a chance to try out the state’s new electronic touch screen voting system.  They also got to vote on some “important” issues, and the results provide a fun snapshot of some South Carolinian’s favorite things.
More than 3000 people voted on the machines during the fair, choosing everything from their favorite fair food to best vacation destinations, barbecue sauce and NASCAR driver.

  • Fairgoers chose the beach over the mountains as a South Carolina vacation nation by a two-to-one margin, 1974 votes to 1032.
  • We may have three distinct barbecue regions in the state, but mustard-based sauce (46 percent of the 2,968 votes cast) is a clear favorite over ketchup (31%) and vinegar (23%).
  • No surprise here: sweet tea is preferred 81 percent to 19 percent.
  • Maybe there’s a geographical bias among fairgoers, since the South Carolina Gamecocks are the favorite state college team with 1741 votes, compared to 720 for Clemson and 514 for the state’s smaller schools.
  • The Wallace brothers stumped in person, but Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was a clear favorite for NASCAR driver honors, with 36 percent of the vote.  Jeff Gordon was his closest competitor at 25 percent, followed by Mark Martin (8%), Tony Stewart (8%), Rusty Wallace (7%), Dale Jarrett (5%) and Michael Waltrip (3%).  Write-ins comprised another 8 percent.
  • As for the biggest question of all, voters got to choose two favorite fair foods, and Fiske fries (18%) and elephant ears (16%) were the big winners.

The fair vote was part of the S.C. Election Commission’s continuing effort to educate voters about the state’s new electronic touch-screen voting machines.  Fifteen counties successfully used the technology in the 2004 General Election.  The 31 remaining counties now have the machines and poll workers are being trained in preparation for the June 2006 Primary, the first election in which voters in all South Carolina counties will cast votes on a uniform system.

The “Every Vote Matters, Every Vote Counts” voter education campaign will continue through the 2006 General Election.  For more information about voting in South Carolina, visit or contact your county election commission.

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