If special elections have a low turnout, it just makes sense that this is the time we can be heard.
September 1 -- next Tuesday -- is primary day for the special election for SC State Senator for District 45. This is the seat that was vacated with the murder of Senator Clementa Pinckney. There are eleven Democratic candidates and two republican candidates. We need to 1) learn about who is running, 2) spread the word and 3) get out and vote.
But even before we do that, we need to find out if we live in Senate #45 and if we are registered to vote. Not as hard as you might think. Go to scvotes.org, plug in your name, county and date of birth, and voila! you will get all the info you need. This site will tell you not only whether you are registered, but what legislative districts you are in, and your polling location.
That out of the way, good luck learning about all eleven Democratic candidates. To that end, a couple of weeks ago I did some research and wrote a blog. Not to blow my own horn, let me just say that this is the most minimal information you would want to use to make a decision. But it is a start.
Go to Facebook and look up candidates, do a google search. When you get a campaign call from an actual human, ask about the issues most important to you. I have had a couple of callers talk to me about my most important issue, women's reproductive rights, and actually had a caller hang up on me when I asked my question. This is THE time to let a candidate know what they need to do to represent you by telling THEM what they can do for you instead of listening to them roll out their talking points.
By the way, women's reproductive rights is my litmus test. If in South Carolina a candidate can say outright that they support a woman's right to contraception and ABORTION (yes, say the word), I expect they will pretty much support voting rights, LGBT rights and workers rights.
After you have done a little research, I'm going to ask you all to spread the word. Make people aware that this important election is going on. Email, Facebook, text, telephone and bring it up when you see your friends, neighbors, co-workers. It's our chance to talk about the issues.
This is why this election is so important:
In the upcoming legislative year, there will be bills promoting the freedom to carry guns everywhere. On the program are bills allowing guns in colleges and universities, as well as public schools. There are bills that would welcome those who carry guns in other states to come on in and bring your ammo. There is an actual bill that would require schools to have a "2nd Amendment Week" celebrating our right to wave our guns around and ending in an essay competition on how carrying guns has guaranteed us our rights.
There will be about a zillion bills prohibiting women from exercising their right to contraceptive care and to decide to have an abortion, free of government interference. The first effort will be to pass the ridiculous twenty week abortion ban. That's the one that claims that at twenty weeks a fetus can feel pain, despite all medical and scientific evidence. When that one gets through (and we do have some strong women's rights legislators that are fighting it, but only a few, and they need all the help and support they can get), it opens the door to bills that would ban abortions earlier, all the way to conception. I guarantee there will be bills to defund Planned Parenthood, denying those of low income the gynecological care that they would otherwise be unable to afford.
On the other side are bills that would ensure voting rights, equality in employment and marriage rights, raise the gasoline tax to pay for improved roads and bridges, and improve our schools throughout the state. We need voices to get expanded federal Medicaid dollars, and we need to make sure that no one in need is denied food and housing.
I will be writing again about a few of the candidates before I vote, but please mark your calendars, and spread the word about this critical special election primary. With so few voting and so many candidates, we need to make the right choice.
I will end with the words that strike fear into the hearts of South Carolina Democrats: