By Laura Haight
GCDP Communications Coordinator
This would be called an off-year election, but not if you live in Greenville County. Mayors are on the ballot in Greenville, Greer, Mauldin, and Simpsonville. Council seats are on the ballot in Greenville, Fountain Inn, Greer, Mauldin, Simpsonville, and Travelers Rest.
Only the Greenville City Council seats are partisan and we have two Democrats challenging: Dorothy Dowe for the at-large seat and Matt Johnson for District 1. Ken Gibson is running unopposed for the District 3 seat. Our candidates are knocking on a lot of doors and talking to a lot of voters and they need your help during this final push. Check the candidates’ websites for information on how to get involved.
Other non-partisan municipal elections are scheduled across the Upstate. Find more information for Fountain Inn’s elections for wards 2, 4, and 6: Greer will elect a mayor, seats in districts 1, 3, and 5, and commissioner of public works; Mauldin residents will vote for mayor and seats in districts 2, 4, and 6; Simpsonville votes for mayor and seats in wards 1, 3, and 5; and Travelers Rest has four at-large council seats on the ballot. There are a number of polling place changes in these municipalities. Find them here.
Democratic voters have been turning out in more significant numbers and we are looking for that trend to continue as we run up to the national election next year. Turnout is key in all of our elections.
When and where to vote
Absentee voting is currently open at Greenville County Square. If you qualify, you can vote Monday-Friday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM. You must bring your driver’s license or other acceptable photo ID. Vote at 301 University Ridge, Greenville, 29601. To see if you qualify for absentee voting, visit the county Election Commission website.
Schools are not closed for this election so some polling places have been moved. See a complete list of polling places, here: http://bit.ly/2019-polling-places.
How to vote
You might think it’s exciting or scary, but if (when?) you vote in this election, you’ll be the first ones in the county to use the new voting system. The new machines utilize a paper ballot marking system. While it requires two extra steps, it creates a paper backup. If you are a part of a civic organization, neighborhood organization, or other group, county election officials say they are willing to come out to do demonstrations. You just have to ask. Contact them at 864-467-7250 to schedule one.
How to help
First and most important, Vote. And don’t just vote, bring a plus one with you. We all know people who don’t vote. One voter at a time, we can all make a difference.
Second, help the GCDP protect our vote by volunteering to be a poll watcher. This is a crucial role and we hope to have a poll watcher at every polling place. You can work either a half day – 6:30 AM to 1 PM or 1 PM to 7:30 PM – or full day. To learn more about being a poll watcher, check out what GCDP Chair Kate Franch wrote last month.
If that’s more than you can handle, we also need drivers and runners to assist intermittently and as needed throughout the day.
If you can help in any way, please contact Kate Franch at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 919-417-6406.
More about candidates
This is a significant election with local implications. Right behind it is the South Carolina presidential preference primary on February 29. We still have 19 presidential candidates in the race. To help Upstate voters who haven’t yet made up their minds, we’ve put together a candidate page to help connect voters with info about each candidate as well as local offices and volunteer opportunities. We’ll keep this updated as more information comes our way from the candidates’ teams. Check this out.