Allow early voting
Thousands of South Carolinians may be stuck standing in lines for hours Tuesday because South Carolina has an obsolete and inefficient election method that should be updated.
We should be making it easier for people to participate in elections, but for some reason the General Assembly has resisted any effort at voting reform. You’d almost think lawmakers have a vested interest in keeping turnout low.
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Remember that if you’re stuck in line Tuesday.…
Part of the problem is that South Carolina doesn’t have an early voting program. The Palmetto State does have absentee voting, and it’s fairly easy to vote absentee, which is why absentee voting is way up this year. More than 12,000 Spartanburg County voters had cast absentee ballots by Halloween.
But there are obstacles. You must go to the county Voter Registration Office to vote absentee or request a mail-in ballot. You also must provide a reason for voting absentee, and many voters think the rules are stricter than they are.
What the state needs is an effective early voting system that allows people to cast their ballots over a period of a couple of weeks without having to justify their desire to vote early. Many states, including North Carolina, offer voters an early voting option, but South Carolina lawmakers have refused to approve such a plan.
If South Carolinians could vote at their convenience over a period of two weeks or more, they wouldn’t be forced to take an hour or two on Election Day to wait in line to cast their ballots.
Vote with confidence
As for misplaced accusations of a “rigged” process, from not just Mr. Trump and other Republicans but from some Democrats, too, the S.C. Election Commission has offered persuasive assurances of a fair system. Public and private security experts have taken steps to guarantee that every valid vote is counted.
And though our state’s voter ID law calls for photo identification, the lack of one doesn’t mean you can’t vote.
From the Election Commission website, if you don’t have a photo ID:
“Bring your non-photo voter registration card with you to the polling place. You may vote a provisional ballot after signing an affidavit stating you have a reasonable impediment to obtaining Photo ID. A reasonable impediment is any valid reason, beyond your control that created an obstacle to obtaining Photo ID.”
Those reasons include disability or illness, conflict with your work schedule, lack of transportation, lack of birth certificate and, in the words of the commission, “any other obstacle you find reasonable.”
Once a voter without a photo ID casts a vote, it will count unless there is proof that the voter lied about her or his identity.
Most of all: Vote
Thumbs down to registered voters who will choose not to vote Tuesday. Their apathy is puzzling. Why do they not care who will lead our nation, state, region, county, city and/or school board? Why do they bother to register but not show up on the designated day (or early, if they qualify for absentee voting)?
We know the leading candidates for president are flawed, but one of them is going to live in the White House for at least the next four years. If you can’t stomach voting for one or the other, and you know a vote for a third-party candidate essentially is throwing your vote away, then skip checking a box and move on to the rest of the ballot. Important races need to be decided.
We’re electing a U.S. senator and a U.S. representative. You don’t care? This election will decide county council and city council races, not to mention sheriff and school board races. You don’t care? A school bond referendum is on the ballot in Darlington County. Sunday alcohol sales are on the ballot in Hartsville.
You don’t care? Then the rest of us don’t care to hear you complain. Come on. Be a good American. Get out there Tuesday and exercise that precious right. It’s more than a privilege. It’s your duty.