Pondering the strides this country has made since 1492 when discovered by Christopher Columbus during the recent holiday now presents 520 years of progress. This includes establishment of the USA in 1776 with a constitution and amendments allowing all citizens the right to vote by overcoming obstacles such as race, gender and poll taxes.
The right to vote should be cherished as many of our service members have given their lives over those years just to maintain this precious right in our democracy.
I have read (Mande Wilkes column in The Sun News) and heard (Dave Priest, a.m. host on WRNN) recently say that if you are a Democrat, you shouldn’t vote as your vote doesn’t count in South Carolina. Well, nothing could be further from the truth unless you are also one of those who believe that voter fraud exists in South Carolina and that a photo voter card is needed to eliminate the alleged practice. I can only surmise that with that issue being settled by the federal courts, that time is running out for those folks who think that Democrats are rigging local elections here in South Carolina so they have to come up with an alternative strategy to discourage Democratic voters from participating in the upcoming election. Interestingly, the S.C. Attorney General could not prove one case of voter fraud at the hearing.
To tell any American that their vote doesn’t count is un-American and to encourage that practice could be subject to a “civil conspiracy” lawsuit which is a tort under S.C. law. This to me is getting too close to paying a voter to stay home on Election Day which is a criminal act. Why do you think liquor stores are closed on Election Day?
The opposite approach should be taken as it is the recognized practice in this country that “one person one vote” is the legal democratic process. Recently, negativity has gained the upper hand in newspapers, social media, radio and television. The wrong approach has been pushed in this regard. Encouragement to vote is the desired practice whatever the choice of the voter and all votes do count. Don’t be misled by voices of doom and gloom as their agenda appears not in the best interest of the USA or its citizens. It doesn’t hurt you to be a positive influence.
I understand that in a presidential election the Electoral College count wins the race with 270 votes; however, there are dozens of local races on the same ballot and this year in the state a constitutional amendment question dealing with the lieutenant governor. Positive treatment of information aids elections and will not discourage voters in those races.
F or the past 10 years I have had the opportunity to work the polls in Horry County as a poll manager and clerk in over half a dozen precincts and I have found that voter apathy is rampant in all of them for whatever reason. This is not just sickening it is against the grain of why and how this country was created. The numbers don’t lie as over the years in the primary elections only about 20 percent of registered voters participate and the general elections may reach 50 percent of registered voters. Do we need any further effort to discourage voters from corning out to the polls on Election Day with these pitiful numbers year after year?
Hopefully, those who are elected or re-elected in November will see fit to overcome this negative side of our right to vote and set forth encouragements to voting by adopting the following six positive steps:
1. Early voting during the 30-day period prior to Election Day after the registration period ends or at least 15 to 20 days out;
2. Absentee voting for any reason if no early voting is allowed;
3. Creating a legal holiday on election day(s);
4. Registering college and tech school students as they register for classes;
5. Establishing easier logistics for early military voting especially for those stationed abroad; and
6. Mandatory education (civics) for all high school students in order to graduate.
This is still a great country and a wonderful place to live. Let’s encourage positive communication, better citizenship and keep it that way. Just vote on Nov. 6.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.