South Carolinians have the privilege and responsibility to vote. Yet South Carolina ranks 40th in voter turnout in the United States. During our primaries this June, only 17 percent of registered voters in the state turned out on Election Day.
We must do better! Our vote not only affects our lives, but the lives of those in South Carolina who can’t vote – our children.
There are more than 1.1 million children under the age of 18 in South Carolina. We must be their political voice. As the director of a nonprofit Early Childhood Development Center in downtown Columbia and as a volunteer with Save the Children Action Network, I am passionate about children and early childhood education.
This year, critical issues like improving child care and pre-K access are on the agenda. The outcomes will directly affect the resources and education available to children in our state. Vote for the candidates who support these crucial programs.
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Voters in South Carolina will elect one governor, one state superintendent, seven U.S. representatives and 124 seats in the House of Representatives on this November’s ballot. Your vote matters. Don’t miss your chance to elect champions for South Carolina’s kids!
Hatred, divisiveness: How did our country get here?
Finding myself contemplating the almost certain possibility that my government is going to slaughter women and children when the immigrant caravan meets the U.S. boarder, I am at a loss to understand how this became acceptable in my country.
While I was growing up in the ’60s and ’70s, I was taught that America was a beacon to the world that offered the inalienable rights set forth in the Constitution and Bill of Rights to all those seeking a better life. I also learned the history of the United States, and the fact that it had not always been so welcoming to new immigrants, but that we had learned these policies were fomented by people who argued for hate and divisiveness and not love and togetherness.
My favorite song as a child was “If I had a Hammer,” Pete Seeger’s ode to seeking out justice. The hatred and divisiveness that I see my government encouraging now is horrifying. It seems there are those who will only be satisfied when we are fighting wars on multiple fronts, which will keep the powerful military/industrial complex fed. Everyone else is just fodder for the mill. How did we allow our country to get here?
Winthrop’s efforts helping to build engaged voters
Winthrop University students wonder how they can impact the future and their community. One way that we stress is through voting.
Our message is two-fold: voter mobilization and voter education.
First, Winthrop targets student groups that had lower than average voter turnout in 2016. These groups include, for example, biology majors, freshmen and African-American students. Winthrop uses messages tailored to each group, such as drawing attention to biology majors as future medical professionals who will need to know about government regulation and funding of medical care.
Second, Winthrop knows that a large majority (85 percent) of its students are already registered to vote. Winthrop is distributing information to students emphasizing that absentee voting is “as easy as 1, 2, 3” (Registering, requesting an absentee ballot and voting!)
Third, Winthrop is engaging with parents. Winthrop voting ambassadors worked with parents during the Oct. 6 Family Day to remind their children to vote absentee in person over fall break. Similarly, the athletic department is sponsoring two events, targeted to athletes and sports fans.
Winthrop will not hold classes on Election Day so students may travel home to vote. We’ll also provide rides to the polls for students who live in the residence halls.
All of these efforts build on Winthrop’s successful 2016 voter engagement strategies. Our ultimate goal is to prepare our students with the skills and habits to be engaged informed citizens long after they leave our beautiful campus.
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.