Letters to the Editor

Three steps for a better state government

Letter to The State editorial board

Lobbyists mill in the lobby between the SC House and Senate. The Legislature controls all power in South Carolina.
Lobbyists mill in the lobby between the SC House and Senate. The Legislature controls all power in South Carolina. tdominick@thestate.com

Members of the Columbia League of Women Voters recently studied the book Daring Democracy by Frances Moore Lappe and Adam Eichen, which identifies three threats to democracy: (1) concentrated power, (2) secrecy and (3) a culture of blame.

Let’s evaluate.

South Carolina’s constitution concentrates power in the General Assembly, depriving county governments of the ability to address important local issues.

Despite some recent progress, we need laws that promote greater transparency.

Finally, our state is gerrymandered along party lines. (See projects.fivethirtyeight.com/redistricting-maps.) Consequently, the vast majority of our general elections offer only one candidate. Non-competitive elections lead directly to voter apathy and lack of accountability. Lack of accountability leads to corruption and then to blame.

Our discussions and book study have led us to look for solutions in (1) systems that distribute power among branches of government and among voters from all income levels, (2) increased transparency requirements and (3) redistricting for competitive elections to foster accountability.

We have a general road map that can point toward solutions, but it is the voters who must muster the sustained energy to demand action.

Janelle Rivers

President, League of Women Voters of the Columbia Area

Columbia

The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.

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