Making Democracy Work

Post-Election 2016: Democracy Needs You

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.

Ways to Take Action

Citizen Participation opportunities:

(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.

National Sites

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

Weekly TV updates, interviews

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)

Other Children's Books on Elections:
Grace for President
One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote

Let your kids explore these websites created just for them on topics of voting, civic engagement, and government!

  • PBS Election Central - For use in classrooms or at home during and after the 2016 Election; includes virtual field trips, classroom activities, contests, movies, and more. Geared toward older kids.
  • Government for Kids! - with games, videos, tutorials, and posters
  • iCivics - Teaches students civics through engaging games that put them in the places of lawyers, activists, administrators, and even candidates. Also includes lesson plans for teachers
  • Ben's Guide to Government for Kids - broken down into multiple age groups and includes resources for parents and teachers

(8) Encourage and prepare women to run for office. Nationwide, only 1 out of 5 statewide elected officials are women, which means women are not being fairly represented as laws and policies are made. Following the 2016 election, SC now has the most women in our state senate that we've ever had at one time: 4. That's progress, but 4 out of 46 means the people who we are electing to represent us are not representative of our demographics.

The League of Women Voters plans to work with like-minded groups in SC including Women's Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN), and American Association of University Women (AAUW) to help prepare interested women to campaign for public office.

Many elected officials get their start at the local level, and one way to serve is being appointed to a board or commission.
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 vote@lwvcharleston.org. And if you are interested in doing more than voting on Election Day, volunteer as a poll worker at your local precinct.

Sips and Civility: Post-Election 2016 Community Discussion

The LWVCA's Letter to the Editor on Nov 9, 2016 encourages thoughtful and civil involvement in our democracy: Now We Must Work Together

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.

Join the League!

The League of Women Voters was founded 97 years ago as women won their fight to be able to vote, and has worked continuously on voting rights, engaging and educating community members that we serve, and a host of public policy issues.

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.

Individual - $50 each year Join the League Now!

What Does it Mean to be Nonpartisan?

Barbara Zia, experienced LWV leader at local, state, and national levels, led a discussion on what it means to be nonpartisan in a highly partisan era in January. Her presentation is available online.