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      SC absentee ballots set midterm record at 81K cast

      South Carolina voters have set a record for absentee voting in a midterm election.

      The State Election Commission reported Wednesday more than 81,000 voters already have cast absentee ballots.

      The most recent high point for absentee voting in a midterm election was set in 2006 with nearly 76,000 ballots cast as Gov. Mark Sanford won a second term.

      The absentee turnout has been highest in Charleston, Greenville, Lexington and Richland counties.

      Winthrop University political scientist Scott Huffmon says there is reason to expect higher turnout than in 2006 when Republicans turned out heavily and Democrats rallied to keep U.S. Rep. John Spratt in office.

      Spratt again is facing a strong challenge this year.

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