It is that time of year! As you may have already noticed, it is not just tulips and annuals that are popping up in your neighbors’ yards now. Candidate signs have also started to appear, and in some cases, the signs are peppering neighborhoods and major traffic thoroughfares. Pretty soon you will probably see entire families standing out on those same corners waving at voters for their mom or dad. In the next few weeks, the person who knocks on your front door may not be the boy down the street selling candy bars for the local school band; it could be the candidate for coroner, the state senate (in one of Greenville’s senate districts, five people are competing for the seat!) or your district fire or public works commissioner.
What can you do? First of all, make sure you are registered to vote. The last day to register to be able to vote in the primary is May 13, 30 days before the primary. South Carolina does not register by party, so you just have to be registered by the deadline, and then when you go to vote on June 12, you choose the primary in which you wish to vote—Republican or Democrat (You cannot vote in both primaries).
Second, make sure you cast an informed vote. Learn about the candidates who are running for each of the contested races. Read the materials that come from each of them, talk with them, attend a candidate debate or forum, and most importantly, pay attention to what they say. You want to learn everything you can about how their views will affect you and your children.
Third, choose a candidate(s) and help him or her. How? By putting a sign in your yard or a bumper sticker on your car (the best forms of advertisement), making phone calls, waving signs, or even walking your neighborhood with him or her. I would be remiss not to mention helping a candidate by giving financially to him or her. It is not cheap to run a good campaign, and money helps the candidate be competitive. Of course, the single best way to help the candidate of your choice is to vote on June 12 and make sure your registered friends and family members vote, too.
I know that by June 12, when you will have heard radio advertisements ad nauseum, read countless newspaper Letters to the Editor both praising and excoriating the same candidates, thrown away a large stack of candidate mailers, honked at a few friendly wavers, and frankly have tired of all things politics, just remember that we are blessed to be Americans, to live in a country where we choose our representatives at all levels. Freedom is not free and elections have consequences. Therefore, your participation and engagement in this primary process is crucial so that both parties can present their best slate of candidates to the general election in November.
LaDonna Ryggs, Chairman of the Spartanburg County Republican Party, is the Managing Editor for Palladian View, the digital magazine for the conservative Republican woman.