(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 with LWV of South Carolina's Advocacy 101 handbook.
3) Attend meetings and begin building relationships with elected officials and government staff. If you are interested in going to government meetings and reporting back to the League, we would love to have you join our Observer Corps.
(4) Become a Poll Manager on Election Day! You must be a registered voter in one of these or an adjoining county and 16 years of age or older. Duties and application information are available here:
(5) Help us register new voters! The League goes out into the community to register voters throughout the year. If you are interested in joining us, please email vote [at] lwvcharleston.org.
(6) Follow current state legislation through online weekly legislative updates. These reports summarize actions in the state House of Representatives when it is in session from January-May. You can also follow Congressional activity including new bills and videos of hearings on the national level.
(7) Educate yourself on issues you find important.
Websites on national issues:
- ProCon.org: Pros and cons of controversial issues; quick introductions to the competing sides of an issue.
- Balanced Politics - Focuses on the backgrounds of and solutions to issues currently in the news.
- AllSides.com - A running newsfeed of the concerns and issues of the left, middle, and right.
Info on State Issues:
- Statehouse Report - Provides weekly updates and articles of interest while the legislature is in session.
- 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.
- Weekly TV updates, interviews on SCETV
Also, with so many news and pseudo-news outlets, it is important to be able to spot fake news. Here are some reliable fact-checking sites.
(8) Encourage and prepare women to run for office. South Carolina is ranked 44th among 50 states with respect to women in elected office. 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.
Several SC Groups help prepare interested women to campaign for public office, including: Women's Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN), SC Women In Leadership, and American Association of University Women (AAUW)
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) Help children become more active citizens. Some good resources include:
- iCivics - Engaging games that put kids in the places of lawyers, activists, administrators, and even candidates.
- We The People - From Scholastic, available at multiple age levels
- PBS Election Central for Students
(10) 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. Make sure you update your registration if you move or change your name.