There are 46 counties in South Carolina ranging in population from 8,039 (Allendale County) to 525,534 (Greenville County).
Counties operate under four forms of government: council (six counties); council-supervisor (four counties); council-administrator (34 counties); and council-manager (two counties). Under the council form, the council has responsibility for policymaking and administration. Under the council-supervisor form, administrative responsibility resides in an elected supervisor who serves as chair of council, but only votes in case of a tie. In both the council-administrator and council-manager forms, administrative responsibility rests with a professional administrator/manager who reports to the council. In the council-manager form, the auditor and treasurer may be appointed by the council rather than elected.
County council members are elected to two- or four-year terms, either at large or by single member districts. All county elections are partisan. Constitutional officers elected to four-year terms are the clerk of court, coroner and sheriff. Statutory officers elected countywide to four-year terms are the auditor, treasurer and probate judge. Some counties also elect a register of deeds.
All counties operate on a July 1–June 30 fiscal year.