By Kate Franch,
Chair, Greenville County Democratic Party
Thank you to the GCDP delegates and alternates who attended the SCDP State Convention in Columbia last month. A rousing day was spent hearing from candidates from across the state and conducting business to shape the Party for the coming year. If you haven’t had a chance to read the lively GCDP Blog post by Lawson Wetli that describes her “Long-time Democrat, first-time delegate” experience at the convention, please check it out: greenvilledemocrats.com/news/. The GCDP had one of the largest delegations in attendance and, I’m especially proud to say, the largest number of delegates still present at the close of the convention around 5 p.m. That’s the kind of commitment that will create change!
The wonderfully big news now is that the mid-term election cycle is underway. With it comes the opportunity we’ve been waiting for to turn the tide through the electoral process.
First, though, we will hold a Primary Election on Tuesday, June 12 to decide the Democratic nominee for the contested seats on the November 2018 ballot for which more than one candidate filed:
- As Democrats, we will choose our nominee for the Third and Fourth Congressional Districts (Rep. Duncan’s and Rep. Gowdy’s seats respectively), the gubernatorial ticket that includes the lieutenant governor for the first time, and SC House District 19 (Rep. Loftis’s seat) and District 25 (Rep. Robinson-Simpson’s seat). A list of all filed candidates in Greenville County may be found on page ____. Campaign information for Democratic Party candidates may be found on the GCDP website: com/links-and-resources/democratic-candidates-for-2018/
- South Carolina has an open system in which registered voters do not have to be a member of a particular political party (Democratic, Republican, Green, American, etc.) in order to vote in that party’s primary. This year, only two parties – the Democrats and the Republicans – will hold primary elections in Greenville County on Tuesday the 12th. A voter may cast a ballot for either party’s ticket, but not both.
- If no candidate receives 51% of the vote from the primary election, a run-off election will be required for the two (or, rarely, three) candidates who receive the highest number of votes. If a run-off is necessary, it will be held on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. If you vote a Democratic ballot on June 12, you may vote on the 26th only in the event of a Democratic run-off election in your precinct. (You may vote in a Republican run-off IF you either voted a Republican ballot or not at all on the 12th.)
- Two advisory questions will be included on the statewide primary ballot. For Democrats they are:
- Do you support passing a state law allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients?
- Do you support passing a state law requiring the governor of South Carolina to accept all federal revenues offered to support Medicaid and Medicaid expansion efforts in the state?
- As I write this, the Greenville County Election Commission has not yet updated its website with ballot and polling place information. Absentee voting at County Square begins May 14 and will run through June 11. Because primary elections will take place for the two congressional districts in Greenville County as well as three statewide constitutional offices, all polling sites will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 12. There have been a few changes to polling locations. You can see them here or check at org/VoterRegistration/ or call 864-467-7250.
If you need a good reason to carve out time to make your political voice heard during the coming month, consider this from Nate Cohn in the New York Times (March 6, 2018):
In a way, primaries resemble special elections. Nonpresidential primaries are relatively low-turnout affairs that provide a clue about which side’s base is more engaged. That’s extremely important in midterm elections.
Let’s put the Republican Party on notice and let them know that they cannot take the Upstate for granted any longer.
And, let’s affirm for ourselves – long-time Democratic voters, newfound activist partners, and recently returning, relocated, and millennial neighbors – that Greenville County is ready to stand up, be heard, and lead the charge for change. Your vote IS your voice!