In aftermath of protests, non-partisan advocacy group urges voter registration

In aftermath of protests, non-partisan advocacy group urges voter registration

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Recent protests in the Midlands and across the country have started a national conversation on race, policing and the way to move forward.

The League of Women Voters is looking for that conversation to continue at the voting booth.

South Carolina League Co-President Christe McCoy-Lawrence leads non-partisan chapters across the state in voter registration events.

She said the recent protests are likely the result of fear and a sense of helplessness, and voting is a way to bring power back to the community.

"It's very discouraging simply because we've been through this scenario so many times. I do believe that getting out and holding up a sign and peaceful demonstrations make a mark. I do think they do make a mark, because people have put energy into leaving their homes and doing that, and during this pandemic, that's not a small matter," she said.

“But ultimately the only weapon we have is the vote, and the ballot box and we have to protect that will all our strength.”

In the 2018 General Election, only 54.354 percent (1,710,858) registered voters went to the polls.

She said the league actively assists interested individuals in navigating registration and absentee paperwork, but she also recommended Vote411.org/ as a resource for locating the polling location.

The South Carolina Election Commission also features a website that breaks down voter, candidate, and poll worker information.

Director of Public Information Chris Whitmire said the commission is actively looking for more poll workers.

Going into the June 9 South Carolina primary election, he said the latest reports from the county show the state is in need of 1,500 poll workers (as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic).

In November's general election, a continued shortage could result in consolidated voting locations.

Whitmire said poll workers will earn a minimum of $165 and it would not impact their unemployment benefits.

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