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Your vote matters! Here’s why...

Posted By Ann Timberlake, Monday, June 11, 2018

Election turnout in South Carolina and in the Nation historically is higher in presidential years. In 2014, 43% of South Carolina's registered voters participated in the November election versus 68% in 2016. Since South Carolina voters do not register by party and are free to choose in which primary they participate, you would think that voters would flock to the polls in June.

You would be wrong. In the last two cycles, more than 700,000 voters skipped voting in the primaries. In 2014, only 16% of registered voters showed up (just over 450,000) and in 2016, under 14% ( just under 420,000) voted.

In South Carolina, almost every state or local district is drawn to favor either the Republican or Democratic candidate ultimately winning the seat. Failing to vote in the primary of your choice is failing to make a difference in choosing who will represent you. And in many cases, there will be no choice offered in November.

This year, in addition to local races, there are competitive gubernatorial contests in both primaries that will impact many issues of interest to our nonprofit missions. If there are runoff elections, you must stay in the same primary in which you voted on June 12th - but also note that voting on June 12th is not a prerequisite for voting in the runoffs on June 26th.

Please take time this year to exercise your right to vote tomorrow, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Our friends at the League of Women Voters of SC have additional information which can be accessed here and the SC Election Commission will give you your sample ballot.  You can retrieve your sample ballot by following this link.


 About Ann Timberlake

Ann honed her advocacy skills in her early years volunteering in conservation campaigns to protect iconic places in South Carolina like the Congaree Swamp and the Chattooga River. She gained her first political experience in 1978 as a county coordinator for Dick Riley’s gubernatorial campaign.

After working as a sales representative for the Pillsbury Company, Ann opened a full service, neighborhood grocery, The Purple Cow, in downtown Columbia. In 2003, she returned to conservation and political work as the founding executive director of the new Conservation Voters of South Carolina.

Over thirteen years, Ann worked with Board members and donors to grow CVSC from an initial budget of $60,000 to a fully staffed, thriving organization with a budget over $600,000. She made bi-partisanship a trademark for conservation in South Carolina, elevated CVSC as a force in state electoral politics and helped the conservation community unite in support of “common agenda” priorities at the State House.

Ann has served on numerous community boards, including a recent term with the South Carolina Association of Non-profit Organizations. She is a lifelong resident of South Carolina and a graduate of Newcomb College of Tulane University. She and her husband, Ben Gregg, have two adult children.  Read more about what Ann's doing by visiting her website here.

Need more information on South Carolina Elections?  Email Ann here.

Tags:  League of Women Voters of SC  SC Elections  Vote  Voting 

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In a Year of Intimidating Voters, It’s Never Been More Urgent for Nonprofits to Get Out the Vote

Posted By SCANPO, Thursday, September 22, 2016

Our friend Tim Delaney recently wrote an op-ed for The Chronicle of Philanthropy about the importance of voting in this year's election:

Because of the frightening steps taken by some to exclude certain groups of Americans — minorities and the poor — from voting this election, it’s never been more essential for the leaders of the nation’s nonprofits to urge all Americans to go to the polls.

On November 8 voters across the country get to decide who fills 5,920 state legislative seats along with 93 statewide offices such as governor (12 to be elected), attorney general (10), and secretary of state (eight). Each officeholder can make a significant difference to nonprofits, as can the thousands of local city, county, judicial, school district, and special district officials up for election in November.

Those races are especially important to nonprofits, given the dysfunctional gridlock in Congress. The main policy action affecting the work of nonprofits and foundations will continue to be at the state and local levels. Nonetheless, the mainstream news media will continue to focus on the presidential election and races for 34 U.S. Senate slots and 435 Congressional seats.

The people who fill those state and local seats will decide issues of importance to nonprofits and foundations, such as whether governmental bodies will continue:

  • Trying to take money away from nonprofit missions through new taxes, fees, and demands for payments for city services or limiting charitable-giving incentives at the state level (as happened in 2011, when Hawaiian nonprofits lost $60 million and Michigan nonprofits began losing $50 million annually in charitable giving to support their work).
  • Ignoring federal law directing state and local governments using federal funds to pay nonprofits for their overhead costs.
  • Cutting their own budgets in ways that do little if anything to curb the need for social services, thereby offloading their public responsibilities onto nonprofits and foundations to fill ever-widening gaps.

In the November elections, voters will also decide the fate of 153 statewide ballot measures and hundreds of local ballot questions across the country, many of which directly affect the work of nonprofits in helping individuals and communities.

That’s why we, as nonprofit leaders, need to step forward on a nonpartisan basis in the communities we serve to ensure that everyone who wants to vote gets to vote. You can help by signing your nonprofit up today to participate in National Voter Registration Day on September 27.

This special registration day is a nonpartisan effort by the National Association of Secretaries of State, Nonprofit VOTE, and hundreds of other organizations across America. (Full disclosure: My organization, the National Council of Nonprofits, will participate, and I serve on the national Leadership Council of Nonprofit VOTE.}

While many nonprofit leaders may think of this election as business as usual — and perhaps not essential to their day-to-day work — I hope they will focus on why this election is unusual and may define us as a people. What’s most disturbing about this election is that not everybody will be allowed to vote, especially because some organized efforts are underway to restrict voting by keeping ballots out of the hands of some Americans.

The very day after the U.S. Supreme Court gutted key aspects of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, state legislators began rushing to rewrite election laws to make it more difficult for certain Americans — generally, people of color and the poor — to exercise their constitutional rights to vote. That’s not just my take. That’s what judges have been declaring the last few weeks in blocking implementation of unconstitutional voting laws in Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, and elsewhere from taking effect.

Federal judges appointed by Democrats and Republicans alike have been exposing the ugly motivation behind many of these new voting laws: racial discrimination to gain a partisan advantage. A three-judge panel unanimously blocked enforcement of North Carolina’s new law "that restricted voting and registration in five different ways," deliberately "target[ing] African Americans with almost surgical precision" in an effort to suppress black turnout at the polls. A federal judge found that new voting laws in North Dakota impose "a disproportionately negative impact on Native American voting-eligible citizens." And the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a trial judge’s findings that a Texas voter-ID law "burdens Texans living in poverty" and had a discriminatory effect against African-American and Hispanic voters.

New voting restrictions in at least 15 states, and confusion caused by incomplete media coverage of litigation in at least 10 more, could scare people away from voting booths. So might attempts by various cities and counties to silence the voices of certain groups of Americans.

But if nonprofits that serve the excluded, the marginalized, and the most vulnerable take an affirmative, visible, and nonpartisan stand promoting voting by all, we can reassure people that their dignity, voice, and vote matter. Trust in nonprofits is high, and when our leaders take a stand, people follow our lead.

As nonpartisan nonprofits, we have the opportunity to stand up for the Constitution, which guarantees through the 15th Amendment that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

That promise can be realized — but only if we, collectively, stand up for the rights of our fellow Americans to have a say in their own future.

Tim Delaney is chief executive of the National Council of Nonprofits. Early in his legal career, he successfully blocked implementation of an Arizona law that would have stripped the ability to vote from more than 500,000 individuals, especially African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans.

Tags:  Register to Vote  SCANPO  Vote 

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