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WBCU Announces Political Forum Dates for General Election

Daniel Prince

South Carolina ranked as one of the least politically engaged states by recent report

A recent report from the personal-finance website WalletHub noted the most and least politically engaged states. Ranking factors such as the percent of registered voters in 2020, the percentage who voted in the 2018 midterm elections, the percentage of those who voted in the 2020 presidential election, the change in percentage of those voting in 2020 vs. 2016, the total political contributions per adult population, voter accessibility policies, civic education engagement, preregistration for young voters policies, volunteer political campaign opportunities per capita, and percentage of residents who participate in civic groups or organizations, the report found Maryland to have the most political engagement in the country. Coming in second was New Jersey, followed by Virginia, Washington, and Oregon. The states with the least political engagement were Arkansas, West Virginia, Alabama, South Dakota, and Nebraska. South Carolina came in ranked #45 out of 50. The state ranked 34th in the percentage of registered voters in 2020, and 40th in the percentage who actually voted in 2020. South Carolina ranked 43rd in the percentage who voted in the 2018 midterm election. It ranked 39th in the percentage change of those voting in 2020 vs. 2016, 44th in total political contributions per adult population, and 34th in voter accessibility policies. South Carolina is 17th in political engagement among young people aged 18-24, at 53.4%, but 37th in political engagement among those aged 65 and older, at 72.4%.

In the 2020 presidential election, South Carolina had a voter turnout of 72.1%. Union County had better turnout than the state average, at 76.4%. In the 2018 midterm election, turnout statewide was 55%. Union County’s turnout was only slightly better than that, at 55.6%. In recent local special elections, though, voter turnout in Union County has been much worse. Last November’s City Council District 3 special election saw turnout at around 7% in the district. The June special election for County Council District 5 saw only 286 votes cast, compared to 1649 cast during the regular election for that seat in 2020, an 82.7% drop in turnout.

The general election for South Carolina is set this year for Tuesday, November 8, with contested races for governor, secretary of state, treasurer, state superintendent of education, commissioner of agriculture, US Senate and US House District 5 races on the ballot. Locally, contested races include county supervisor, county council districts 1 and 4, school board districts 4, 5, and 9, and City Council District 1. Ann White has also launched a write-in campaign against Rep. Doug Gilliam for the SC House District 42 seat.
Early voting will begin October 24 at the Union County Voter Registration and Elections Office at 1246 South Duncan Bypass.

Ahead of Election Day and for the most part ahead of the early voting time, WBCU News will once again invite the candidates in for the contested races in our county. The tentative schedule is set to begin next Tuesday, October 18, with the candidates for City Council District 1, Jackie Earls and Jennifer H. West. On Wednesday, October 19, we’ll have the School Board District 4 candidates, Gene “Doc” Lipsey and Rossi Hames. On Thursday, October 20, the School Board District 5 race is featured, with Tommy Mann and Mark Truitt. Friday, October 21, will be the forum for School Board District 9, with Jane Wilkes and Beth Anthony. On Monday, October 24, Union County Council District 1 is featured, with Danny Bright and Tracie Farr Campbell. On Tuesday, October 25, County Council District 4 is scheduled, with Annie Smith and Jennifer Wood. Finally, on Wednesday, October 26, the candidates for Union County Supervisor, Phillip Russell and Timika Wilson, are scheduled to come in. If you have questions for the candidates, you can email them to ahead of the forum date. If any schedule changes or additions are made, we will let you know.

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