By Barbara Zia for The Island Eye News
Voting is the most powerful way to have citizens’ voices heard, and it is the core of our democracy. Voting’s a chance to stand up for what matters most to citizens and have an impact on the issues that affect them, their communities and their futures. Informed voters are the key to our democracy. Nationwide, the League of Women Voters works year-round to register, inform and mobilize voters. Our work especially seeks to aid those from traditionally underrepresented or underserved communities, including first time voters, non-college youth, new citizens, minorities, and low-income Americans. The League serves millions of voters through Vote411.org, our one-stop election information hub.
The need to engage citizens in our democracy is great. Voter registration rates are very high in our area; yet only 67% of registered South Carolina voters cast ballots in last November’s election, and turnout in local elections is often in single digits.
A recent Pew Charitable Trust report is pertinent: one of the top reasons reported by registered voters for not voting is lack of information about candidates and issues (bit.ly/2vplj5A).
Though 2017 is an “off” election year in South Carolina, important local elections are set for some Charleston area municipalities on November 7. And there’s a special election to fill the S.C. House District 113 seat (North Charleston and Dorchester County).
LWV of the Charleston Area is proud to provide reliable, nonpartisan, voter-friendly information through Vote411.org to prepare Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester County voters to participate in 2017 elections and beyond. Through Vote411.org we equip voters with essential information about the election process in South Carolina, including polling place hours and locations, ballot information, absentee voting rules, voter registration deadlines, ID requirements and more. This year, LWVCA is launching a new Vote411 feature: an online voter guide to candidates. Candidates in the S.C. House District 113 race, (3 Democratic and 2 Republican), were invited to respond to questions of importance to district voters in advance of the Sept. 5 primary.
Candidates running in local elections on Nov. 7 will also be invited to participate in the voter guide at Vote411.org.
LWVCA will be hosting candidate forums in communities with elections on Nov. 7. These forums are an opportunity for voters to meet candidates and get straightforward answers to their questions.
This is only a snapshot of strategies that LWVCA is undertaking to empower all eligible citizens to participate in our political system. Delivery of these resources to a broad audience relies on community collaboration. To learn more, please contact LWVCA at 843.766.5416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.