South Carolina's 2024 Democratic primary is today. Here's what to know.


Washington — President Biden will be facing two long-shot candidates in South Carolina’s 2024 Democratic presidential primary election today. 

The state that revived his struggling 2020 campaign is the first official Democratic nominating contest of 2024, after the Democratic National Committee moved the primary ahead of Iowa and New Hampshire, disregarding a longstanding New Hampshire law that requires the state to hold the first presidential primary in the nation. 

Although his name did not appear on the New Hampshire ballot, Mr. Biden still won the primary as a write-in candidate. At this point, he won’t receive any delegates out of the Granite State because the DNC sanctioned New Hampshire after it defied the DNC’s primary calendar. 

In South Carolina, Mr. Biden is expected to defeat Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips and self-help author Marianne Williamson, but the primary is still expected to be closely watched as a test of the president’s support among Black voters. This demographic helped deliver the first primary win in any of his presidential election bids for Mr. Biden four years ago, resurrecting his campaign after lackluster finishes in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. 

While campaigning in South Carolina in the days leading up to the primary, Mr. Biden credited its voters with putting him in the White House. 

“The truth is, I wouldn’t be here without the Democratic voters of South Carolina, and that’s a fact,” he said on Jan. 27. “If you ever doubt the power to change America, you are the reason I am president.” 

Who is running in the South Carolina Democratic primary?

President Joe Biden, Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips and self-help author Marianne Williamson will be on the ballot. 

When do primary polls close in South Carolina?

South Carolina polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday. Voters who are in line when polls close at 7 p.m. will be allowed to cast their ballots. 

Voters can find their polling place here. 

Who can vote in the South Carolina Democratic primary?

Presidential primaries are open to all registered South Carolina voters, so they don’t have to be registered as Democrats to be able to cast a ballot in the primary. However, voters who cast a ballot in the Democratic primary cannot also vote in the Republican primary later in the month. 

The voter registration deadline for the Democratic primary was Jan. 4, while the Republican primary cutoff was Jan. 25. 

When is the Republican South Carolina primary?

South Carolina’s Republican primary falls on Feb. 24, where former President Donald Trump will face off against Nikki Haley. 

Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, served as South Carolina governor from 2011 to 2017 before joining the Trump administration. 

Though Haley is familiar to the state’s voters, South Carolina’s conservative primary electorate is expected to be highly favorable to Trump

Early voting for the Republican primary starts on Feb. 12 and ends Feb. 22, with polls open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Polling places will be open from from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the day of the primary. 

Why are the Republican and Democratic primaries on different days?

The national parties typically decide when their primaries are held, but sometimes states have laws with mandates about the timing. 

The Democratic National Committee adjusted its 2024 primary calendar to move South Carolina as the first contest, citing the state’s racially diverse electorate. New Hampshire defied the DNC and held its primary in January anyway because state law requires it to hold its primary first, but Mr. Biden declined to appear on the ballot. 

The state has in previous election cycles been fourth in Democrats’ nominating contest lineup, on the same day as the GOP primary. So this year, the Republican National Committee is keeping South Carolina in the same order as past elections, following Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.



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