The 2016 election cycle was divisive and the LWVUS president said it presented an "unprecedented danger to the very foundation of our democracy." The League of Women Voters is poised to strengthen our non-partisan work to bring groups together, and also to further our work on core issues including public education, women's rights, voting rights, climate change, and ethics reform. We remain devoted to citizen participation in government, and will continue to update this page with ways you can join us in our efforts.
(1) Call or write your local council members and state legislators about issues you want them to act on. Do your research, be civil, follow up with them, and attend meetings if you can. Find their contact information on the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Regional Directory and the State of South Carolina's directory.
(2) Brush up on your advocacy skills. Get tips for being an effective advocate for your policy priorities.
LWV South Carolina published a wonderful handbook entitled Advocacy 101 that is available for free online.
(3) Follow current state legislation through online weekly legislative updates. These reports summarize actions in the state House of Representatives when it is in session. You can also follow Congressional activity including new bills and videos of hearings on the national level.
(4) Educate yourself on issues you find important.
ProCon.org - pros and cons of controversial issues
Introduces you quickly to the competing sides of an issue.
Balanced Politics - Focuses on the backgrounds and solutions of issues currently in the news.
AllSides.com - A running newsfeed of the concerns and issues of the left, middle, and right.
South Carolina Sites
Institute for Public Service and Policy Research (University of South Carolina)
- Provides links to an array of governmental statistics and organizations such the SC Municipal Association. Lists recent publications of interest to SC issues.
Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs (Clemson University) - Provides regular updates on the economic situation for SC, lists its publications, and gives a calendar of relevant lectures.
TV Updates on SC Legislation
Check Facts, Spot Fake News
Some reliable sites
(5) Hear and understand the different politics of your neighbor These are sites to help you host a meeting or meet up digitally.
(6 Attend meetings and begin building relationships with elected officials and government staff. If you are interested in going to meetings and reporting back to the League, we would love to have you join our brand new Observer Corps. Observer Corps members attend meetings on a regular basis (they may choose to cover school board, or their local town council, for instance) and then report back to the LWVCA with a summary that will be made available to the members and the public.
Being familiar with Robert's Rules of Order may help you in these meetings.
(7) Help engage youth in the community:
Read Helping Your Child Become a Responsible Citizen - This publication suggests activities that you and your school-aged children can do together to promote the basic values that you want your child to learn and use. (PDF)
Let your kids explore these websites created just for them on topics of voting, civic engagement, and government!
Charleston County Boards and Commissions - with vacancies listed
City of Charleston Boards and Committees - with vacancies listed
Dorchester County Boards and Commissions - with application; click on individual board links to see vacancies or expiring terms
South Carolina Statewide Boards and Commissions - with a link to vacancies
(9) The next opportunity to vote is never far away. Check Your Voter Registration to determine in which federal, state, county, and municipal or public service districts you live. The League goes out into the community to register voters throughout the year. If you are interested in joining us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you are interested in doing more than voting on Election Day, volunteer as a poll worker at your local precinct.
How do we move past the bitterness of this election cycle and advocate for the issues that we care about? What can we do about low voter turnout and dark money in elections and "fake news?"
On Tuesday, November 29th, the League hosted a community discussion. Here is the summary of the event. The capacity crowd enjoyed a great conversation and suggested many actionable items.
The 2016 Election Cycle was ugly and brought up many issues that face our democracy. We are heartened by the groundswell of support that we are seeing for our organization, and welcome new members as we respond to the need we feel this election has presented. Our Charleston chapter is an all-volunteer organization and we welcome any contribution of your time, money, or talent as we help to Make Democracy Work.