Protecting our elections

NathansNews readers may recall years ago how I led the fight to help assure Richland County would not have another fiasco like we saw at many locations – some right here in our community. For the past decade, I’ve been a watchdog working to have your vote count while also not taking hours at the polls.

Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, Independent or whether it’s a local race, state race, or national race – every legal citizen should be able to vote and everyone should be able to know the results were valid and that their ballot that was counted had their choices on it.

Voting in free and fair elections is what sets our American democracy apart and makes our country the greatest in the world. Ensuring that this right is upheld is of utmost importance to my colleagues and me. On Thursday, I signed on to H. 4919, which is a bill that will make it easier to vote while making it harder for fraudulent votes to be cast in South Carolina. Although this bill still has to work its way through the legislative process (where it could be altered), here are some of the protections that the bill proposes:

Currently, ‘in-person’ absentee voting extends up to 45 days before an election. This bill repeals the “in-person” absentee voting system, so all absentee ballots would have to be submitted by mail.

H. 4919 creates 12 days of “early voting” with an acceptable form of ID, just as voting on Election Day. These early voting locations must be “brick and mortar”, and offer every ballot for that particular election – giving every individual a chance to go vote if voting on election day is not possible.

This bill enforces voter ID requirements when voting absentee, just as they are enforced on Election Day. IDs would mirror what is already in South Carolina law: SCDL, state ID card, passport, military ID, voter registration card with a picture.

Every absentee ballot that is submitted must have the signature of a witness. With this, witnesses would be required to print their name beside their signature and provide an address so their identity can be verified.

Absentee envelopes would be opened prior to Election Day so results are available by the close of polls. To safeguard this, any disclosure of any election-related information before the polls close is a felony.

Finally, “Fusion voting” laws would be repealed, meaning a name could appear on the ballot only once. “Fusion voting” allows a candidate to appear on multiple parties’ ballot lines, essentially pooling the votes for them.

I anticipate that a sound and solid bill which safeguards our elections will make its way to the Floor, and I will vote in favor of it when given the opportunity. If you have ideas of ways to improve the bill, please let me know.

Comments

  1. Jim Lambeth says

    Another SC law looking for a problem. There is no substantive voting fraud in SC or indeed in the US. But since Republicans need a reason to restrict voting these unnecessary laws are passed.

    Gerrymandering and these restrictive laws have and are undermining democracy. It is a shame some feel they have to govern out of fear and restriction rather than inclusion. I can only hope that they will come to realize what damage is being done to our society. I would have thought that Jan 6, 2021 would have given some pause to think, but it appears not.

  2. Ashley Wile says

    Many senior citizens really appreciate early in-person voting. We trust that system much more than we trust a mail-in system. I myself have had 3 pieces of mail that I know were posted never get to me just since the first of this year! Please do not let South Carolina get swept up in the frenzy of other states where the leaders were dissatisfied with their election results. These changes are unnecessary.

    The witness signature is especially heinous and will only lead to many ballots being disqualified. It is ingenuous to say you want to make it easy for people to vote and then to add extra steps to make it harder and more confusing.

    I support asking for voter ID, but we must make it easy for people to obtain forms of Identification. Some people don’t have transportation or the ability to take a day off of work. Please, Nathan, vote against this bill and demonstrate that you really do want to help all SC citizens aged 18 and older be able to vote. Our elections are already free, fair, and secure. Don’t mess with a system that isn’t broken.

    • Marjorie Colbert says

      There was fraud in the 2020 Election. I give you Maricopa county in Arizona. Research what happened to the voting machine election’s history. There was ballot harvesting in several states. There was fraudulent ballot counting by the Democrats because Republican observers were removed from the counting area. Everyone in America has access to get a driver’s or non-driver’s license. It is disingenuous to say otherwise. We all find our way to get groceries. We can get to the DMV. There are transportation services for the elderly and infirmed. I agree with Nathan’s proposed changes.

  3. Randall Perrill says

    We need random, For Cause, and audits of electronic voting machine based on the times they have been used without having undergone an audit. We need laws to ensure that electronic voting machines cannot be connected to the internet. We need to ensure that illegals are not voting, and that ballot harvesting cannot occur. We also need to ensure that those who are mentally disabled have their vote protected by family members or those with power of attorney to do so. We also need to protect the rights of Poll Watchers to ensure that politically motivated officials cannot remove them from the polling place preventing them from observing the voting process. We also need greater penalties for those who violate voting laws or who interfere with elections.

  4. Vastine Crouch says

    Sounds good at first blush, but all the laws in the world won’t change inadequate/incompetent poll workers, but that’s not your responsibility.

    • Marjorie Colbert says

      Hire and train poll workers to be competent. If they demonstrate an inability to be competent, don’t hire them. If they are incompetent volunteers then dismiss them.

      AMAC trains poll workers to be competent. They are an excellent poll workers source.

  5. Hugh Bradley says

    I keep looking for a web site and/or credible organization that reports the latest status of the redistricted county maps, but I haven’t found one. Is there such a resource? If so, then please let me know. And please consider including information about redistricting in you monthly update.
    Thank you,
    Hugh Bradley

  6. Chris Partrich says

    Thanks, me and my family support your efforts on this

  7. Albert R. Godown says

    I don’t agree with ANY mail in voting, other than someone who is in the military stationed abroad. The fact is that mail in only adds another layer of possible fraud which is unacceptable. If you need to vote absentee, then the person needs to be present to pick up their absentee ballot and fill out that ballot in front of state personnel where they have secured the ballot. Then the ballot can be processed at that time for later voting tallying. The idea that someone is going to “change” their mind between when they make an early vote and election day is very extraordinary and should not dictate the process.
    The whole idea of an absentee ballot is for someone who can’t participate ON election date. They should have plenty of time, prior to the actual election day, to make an in-person visit to the state absentee ballot department.

  8. Dennis Schmidt says

    Is no one more interested in this medical marijuana that just got passed by the senate and sent to the house. Nothing but an excuse and will morph into recreational. Not like you cant already smell it everywhere anyway (oh but this bill doesn’t allow you to smoke it….right).
    Enjoy the 2nd hand smoke coming out of that housing next to Foodlion. Thx guys.