Voter turnout higher than expected

Mark Sanford casts his vote in downtown Charleston.

By Stacy

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- Students in a{}crowded lunch{}cafeteria at James Island Charter High School{}watch as people in South Carolina's first congressional district cast their vote. The election had the attention of the country.

"You really couldn't have two{}bigger names," analyst Gibbs Knots said. "There's going to be a lot of people that know about the election. It's going to be a high turnout election for a special election."

"I was happy to see more people here than I expected," voter John Richardson said.

A lot voters{}also said{}they were sick of negative ads and national attention.

"All those annoying calls at dinner time," Darlene Logothetis said.

"All the negative things about her dealing with Obama and Pelosi and then all the negative ads with his wife and fiance," Alfred McDaniel said.

But Knotts said the negativity would not keep people at home on election day.

"They do tend to work. There's no evidence that folks are going to have some kind of backlash and not go out and vote because of negative ads," he said.

And ultimately, no matter which way the ballots go, the voters have spoken.

"It'll be over tonight and we can move forward," McDaniel said.

Election officials in Dorchester, Berkeley and Charleston Counties all reported "steady" activity at the polls and turnout numbers higher than the March primary.