South Carolina Primary 2016: GOP Polling Hours & Key Information

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Marco Rubio signs an autograph at a February 16, rally in Summerville, South Carolina. Rubio gained the endorsement of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley on February 17. (Getty)

The South Carolina Republican primary is set for Saturday, February 20. The Democratic primary in the Palmetto State is a week later, on Saturday, February 27.

Here’s what you need to know about the GOP primary:

DATE: Saturday, February 20, 2016

POLLING HOURS: Polls are open throughout the state from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time. Voters who are in line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

CANDIDATES IN THE RACE: Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump

TYPE OF PRIMARY: South Carolina holds an open primary, meaning any registered voter can vote in one of the two party’s primaries. Voters cannot vote in both party’s primaries.

DELEGATES AT STAKE: South Carolina will send 50 delegates to the GOP convention in Cleveland. The state uses a modified “winner-take-all” system that works as follows: The winner of the primary will automatically receive 29 delegates. The other 21 delegates will be spread out among the candidates who win each of the state’s seven congressional districts.

PAST WINNERS: South Carolina has a long history of voting for the GOP candidate who goes on to win the party’s nomination for president. In fact, the Palmetto State voted for the eventual nominee in every primary from 1980 to 2008. In 2012, however, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won South Carolina, while eventual nominee Mitt Romney finished second.

KEY ENDORSEMENTS: Governor Nikki Haley became the latest GOP official to endorse Marco Rubio when she joined Rubio at a rally Wednesday evening. Haley joins U.S. Senator Tim Scott and Congressman Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, aboard the Rubio bandwagon. U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, who was a candidate for the nomination until he dropped out of the race in January, has endorsed Jeb Bush.

LATEST SOUTH CAROLINA POLLS: The latest GOP polls in South Carolina show Donald Trump with a commanding lead. The RealClear Politics average of recent polls shows Trump with 35 percent of the vote. He’s followed by Ted Cruz at 18 percent, Marco Rubio at 16 percent, Jeb Bush at 10 percent, John Kasich at 9 percent and Ben Carson at 6 percent. The prediction markets at Predictwise.com give Trump a 90 percent chance to win the primary. Ted Cruz is a distant second at 6 percent, and Marco Rubio is third at 2 percent.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS & VOTING INFORMATION: If you’re a South Carolina voter looking for more information, click here to check out the frequently asked questions page on the South Carolina Elections Commission website. You can also click here to find your polling place.

NEXT UP AFTER SOUTH CAROLINA: After the South Carolina primary, the GOP race moves to Nevada, which holds its presidential caucus on Tuesday, February 23. Click here to check out the full GOP primary and caucus schedule.

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