We’ve got two essential goals over the next five months: 1) to get voters to the polls for the November 5 municipal election and the February 29 Democratic presidential preference primary in higher numbers than we’ve seen in recent years and 2) to make sure that our voices ring out loud and clear at the ballot box.
You know the first step – connect with voters. Talk with everyone in your various circles about the upcoming elections and the issues at hand, help to organize your precinct, and/or phone bank and canvass for a specific candidate. We must make the Republicans feel the power of our presence and determination. We must elect more Democrats to office to create the just and equitable communities we envision.
We have a new challenge with regard to protecting the vote, however. The new voting machines are here. We might see them during the November 5 municipal election; they will definitely be in use across the county in February. The multi-step process they require in order to submit a vote will feel unfamiliar and therefore daunting and somewhat untrustworthy to many of us. We need to do everything we can to ensure that no one walks away from the polling place out of frustration or mistakenly fails to register his/her vote.
What you can do:
- Conway Belangia and the Greenville County Voter Registration and Elections Office team will offer hands-on voter education opportunities between now and the February primary. Invite them to speak to every group you know. 864-467-7250
- Sign up to be a paid Greenville County poll manager (worker). Due to the additional steps required to cast a vote on the new system, more hands will be needed at each polling place to keep things moving at a reasonable pace. Democrats believe in access to the ballot box. If you are a registered voter and can work a minimum 14-hour day, consider this critical role greenvillecounty.org/VoterRegistration/pdf/application_pollworker.pdf.
- 16 and 17-year-olds may also apply to work the polls in a paid position that requires training, they must be willing and able to work the entire 6 am to 8 pm day. Information and the application can be found here: greenvillecounty.org/VoterRegistration/pdf/student_pollworker.pdf
- Help the GCDP protect the vote by serving as a GCDP poll watcher. Nineteen polling sites will be used in the November municipal election; in February, we will vote across the entire 151 precincts of the county. Volunteer poll watchers monitor activity on Election Day to make sure that no one is kept from voting, and assist with Democratic voter turnout. You can work all- or part-day, depending on your availability. We’ll train in October and again in February. It’s a noble way to honor the American “your vote, your voice” promise. Call 864-232-5531 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to add your name to the list and we’ll follow up with more information.
In this 100th year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, let’s make Susan B Anthony’s words our motto: “Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it.” and make actually casting one’s vote as assured and trouble free as possible.