Editorial Summary: South Carolina | The state

Post and courier. August 24, 2022.

Editorial: SC has enough election deniers; we can’t let neglect create more

There is a vocal minority of South Carolina voters who are convinced that election officials are corrupt – not because of anything SC election officials have done, not because of evidence, but because they choose to believe this, because it fits the conspiratorial worldview they have chosen to embrace.

For proof, look no further than the Horry County Republican Party, which is calling on the Legislature to disband the state’s Election Commission and reform our election laws — just months after the bill was passed. Republican-dominated Legislature and Republican Governor Henry McMaster signed sweeping electoral reform. legislation designed to address the real and perceived failures of our own electoral system and the electoral systems of other states.

This is dangerous for our republic – and not just because of the potential for it to breed violence as we saw on January 6 and continue to see threats against election officials. This is dangerous because our government in general and our elections in particular are built on public trust.

Political leaders should do all they can to win back the trust of these skeptics rather than induce them, and election officials should do all they can to ensure that they don’t do anything that inadvertently increases the number of skeptics.

Which brings us to the State Election Commission’s decision to add the names of Labor Party candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and the 1st Congressional District to the ballot, even though the party missed a deadline. two months.

Frankly, we don’t care whether the Labor Party has candidates on the ballot or not. We doubt Governor Henry McMaster or U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace care much either, though obviously the Democratic Party — which needs all the help it can get if it hopes to defeat one or the other of the incumbents – cares about all the votes the Labor candidates might get from their own challengers; therefore he sued to remove them from the ballot.

We certainly have no reason to believe that the State Election Commission cares about anything other than adhering to the schedule to prepare ballots in time for military and foreign voters to participate in the Nov. 8 general election. .

But it is frankly bizarre that, while correctly concluding that it could not arbitrate an intra-party dispute over whether Labor had in fact nominated Gary Votour, Harold Geddings III and Lucus Faulk, the Electoral Commission somehow overlooked the fact that the party’s nominating convention did not take place. until July 30 — more than two months past the May 15 deadline in state law.

As Circuit Judge Alison Lee wrote in her Aug. 18 order barring the commission from including their names on the ballot, state Chief Electoral Officer Howard Knapp himself said that political parties nominating candidates by convention must respect this deadline, which is prominently displayed on the ballot paper. Election Commission website.

“Mr. Votour’s arguments that the Labor Party acted in good faith and that the plaintiff has dirty hands does not address the issues in this case,” she wrote. “The issue in this case is governed by statutes that set time limits for certain activities related to the electoral process State law is clear and unambiguous about time limits and no exceptions are provided This Court is bound to apply the law as it is written.

Clear and unambiguous.

Justice Lee agreed with the Democratic Party that “the question for the Court is not to decide the internal dispute of the Labor Party or to review the decision of the Electoral Commission that it had no discretion to reject the certification of appointments”, but rather “the question is whether the appointment agreement has respected the legal deadline. The evidence on this point is clear: it has not.”

Some Democrats have sewn on the idea that the State Election Commission has become a partisan body since longtime director Marci Andino was forced out last year. She had angered Republicans by writing a memo to legislative leaders suggesting several changes to state law, including eliminating the witness signature on mail-in ballots. Their concerns were amplified when the reform bill passed by the Legislative Assembly in May said the director could be fired for making public statements “discrediting the merit of a state election law” – which , according to some, could include suggestions for changes to the law.

Although election conspiracies have become a religion on the fringes of the right, conspiracy theories have never been confined to one side of the political spectrum. The Election Commission’s failure to apply clear and ambiguous law in a case the Democratic Party says would have helped Republican candidates could easily fuel the idea on the left that it has become a partisan body. We think not; we tend to believe he was simply negligent – ​​perhaps so obsessed with how to deal with the dispute within the Labor Party that he overlooked a flagrant violation of state law.

But with all those right-wing voters convinced the commission is fraudulent, it can’t afford to be negligent or make other mistakes that will fuel this left-wing narrative. (backslash)

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Times and Democrat. August 23, 2022.

Editorial: SC defies US trend in road deaths

Road deaths in the United States continue to rise, jumping about 7% in the first three months of 2022.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 9,560 fatalities, the highest number in the first quarter since 2002. The new estimate comes after a year in which road deaths jumped 10.5% to 42,915 in 2021.

The Biden administration has called the national traffic toll, which has been steadily rising during the pandemic, a “crisis.” But Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) says the government has no plan to deal with “this immediate crisis”.

“We have seen a disturbing lack of commitment to take action to stop the killings on our roads,” MADD said in a statement Aug. 17.

He called for a “return to the fundamentals of dangerous driving law enforcement and pursuing those choices to the fullest extent of the law.”

In South Carolina, long a state with the highest number of per capita road deaths, the SC Department of Public Safety is taking action. As part of the Sober or Slammer enforcement campaign, SCDPS will crack down on impaired driving over Labor Day weekend.

The holiday weekend caps what law enforcement calls the “100 Deadly Days of Summer,” the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when traffic fatalities historically spike. In 2021 alone, there were 10 fatal collisions with 12 fatalities in South Carolina over Labor Day weekend.

“A lot of people are trying to take advantage of their last vacation in these last weeks of summer,” said SCDPS director Robert G. Woods IV. “Our soldiers and officers are preparing to ensure that these trips remain safe for everyone traveling on our state’s roads. People can expect to see increased enforcement, especially around popular vacation destinations and high crash rate corridors.

The enforcement effort comes as road deaths in South Carolina have defied the national trend, declining this year from 2021. As of August 16, 631 people had been killed on SC roads compared to 718 the same time in 2021.

“While we are delighted to see a decrease in the number of fatalities compared to last year, we sincerely believe that even one life lost on our roads is too many. That’s why we urge you not to let your guard down as we bring the Deadly 100 Days of Summer to a close,” said South Carolina Highway Patrol Col. Chris Williamson. “The top three things we encourage all drivers to do are drive defensively, obey posted speed limits and designate a sober driver if you plan to drink alcohol.”

One life lost on the roads is indeed too many. But the sad reality is that even though South Carolina shows a decline in road deaths, history indicates that by the end of the year the death toll will be close to 1,000. is 1,000 lives.

Anything law enforcement can do to help curb the carnage is needed.

As NHTSA Administrator Steve Cliff said in a statement, “Now is the time for all states to redouble their efforts on road safety.”

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