Democrats OK online gambling, medical marijuana on ballot questions

Republican voters Tuesday had two ballot questions to vote on while Democrats had three.

The same questions are not on both ballots because the primaries are run by the political parties, which decide the questions on their own ballots.

But voters could chose to vote in either primary.

Judging by telephone feedback, local voters were most interested in the question on the Democratic ballot that asked if South Carolinians would favor modernizing gaming laws rather than a tax increase to fund an estimated $20 billion backlog in infrastructure work.

The question is asking if voters would rather have casino gambling rather than a tax increase, according to the House Democratic Caucus, which submits questions for the primary ballot.

While the vote on that and all questions on the ballot is nonbinding, Democrats said the response might help determine the party’s legislative agenda in upcoming sessions.

Should the statewide response be strong in favor of casinos, expect that issue to be a topic of discussion perhaps as soon as the session that will convene in January.

If the response from Horry County voters is strongly in favor of casino gambling, but weaker statewide, a local legislator may try to initiate the conversation in Columbia.

The state would need a change in its constitution to allow casino gambling, said Rep. Tracy Edge, R-North Myrtle Beach, and that would require a statewide referendum on the matter.

The questions:

Democrat ballot:

1. Do you believe each state — not Congress — should decide for itself whether to allow online gaming and determine how to regulate online gaming in their state? Yes or No.

Vote total:

Horry County:

Yes | 2,572

No | 815

Georgetown County

Yes | 1,128

No | 462

Statewide: (30 of 46 counties reporting)

Yes | 59,111

No | 22,969

2. The South Carolina Department of Transportation estimates more than $20 billion is required to fix South Carolina’s crumbling roads and bridges. Should gaming laws be modernized to fund the repairs instead of a tax increase? Yes or No.

Vote total:

Horry County:

Yes | 2,824

No | 567

Georgetown County

Yes | 1,318

No | 282

Statewide: (30 of 46 counties reporting)

Yes | 66,680

No | 15,994

3. Should medical marijuana be legalized for use in cases of severe, chronic illnesses when documented by a physician? Yes or No.

Vote total:

Horry County:

Yes | 2,742

No | 663

Georgetown County

Yes | 1,230

No | 372

Statewide: (30 of 46 counties reporting)

Yes | 63,316

No | 20,649

Republican ballot:

1. Should Article I Section 3 of the South Carolina Constitution be amended to include the following language? The privileges and immunities of citizens in South Carolina and the United States shall not be abridged, so that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. These rights shall extend to bother born and pre-born persons shall extend to both born and pre-born persons beginning at conception. Yes or No.

Vote total:

Horry County:

Yes | 14,788

No | 4,390

Georgetown County

Yes | 3,261

No | 1,238

Statewide: (30 of 46 counties reporting)

Yes | 142,423

No | 41,150

2. Should South Carolina Law be amended to replace the state income tax imposed on individuals, estates, trusts, and others by reducing the rate of taxation by 1.4 percent each year until the state income tax rate for all brackets is zero percent? Yes or No.

Vote total:

Horry County:

Yes | 15,318

No | 4,235

Georgetown County

Yes | 3,536

No | 1,005

Statewide: (30 of 46 counties reporting)

Yes | 147,477

No | 37,461