(Columbia, SC) – In the 2018 Midterm Election, South Carolina saw about a 50% voter participation rate among its 3.1 million registered voters. Participation was better in the 2016 General Election when 65% of voters went to the polls. Still, South Carolina continues to lag behind many other states when it comes to voter participation. This election season, Columbia Housing is doing its part to encourage greater community engagement and participation in the overall voting process.
This week, Columbia Housing launched CH Votes—a campaign to do three things: engage unregistered voters to get them registered; educate their residents and other citizens on voting options amid the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic; and provide transportation assistance on Election Day, November 3rd.
“Helping people understand the direct correlation between their vote and the representation of their interests by the people they elect is important,” says Columbia Housing CEO Ivory Mathews. “We are working to help people understand the significance and relevance of the voting process and its impact on their lives. Through our virtual workshops, educational engagement, and Election Day mobilizations, we feel we can make a difference,” concludes Mathews.
Columbia Housing is also looking for community partners to help reach area residents and counter some of the anti-voting sentiment permeating in many communities. James Felder, Director of the SC Voter Education Project notes that groups led by popular entertainers like Grammy-award winners Ice Cube and Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs have recently began urging communities to withhold their vote unless candidates meet certain demands ahead of the election. “This can be confusing and counter-productive this close to election. Instead, we should engage people in the voting process and educate them on how to advocate for their interests. Anything else runs the risk of suppressing the vote,” says Felder.