In the mid-term elections of 2014, less that 37 percent of eligible voters went to the polls, the lowest turnout in 70 years.
In the 2016 presidential election, 102 million people didn’t vote – far more than voted for any single candidate.
The reasons people don’t vote are varied. Some think their votes don’t count. Razor-thin margins in some recent elections prove otherwise. Some find it too hard to find out what candidates are running, who they are, what they stand for, and where to vote.
In the weeks leading up to the mid-term elections of 2018, the League of Women Voters of Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Area is working hard to educate, and thereby empower, voters and increase turnout.
In advance of the June primaries, we launched Vote411.org, an online, non-partisan source of voter information about electoral races and competing candidates in our area’s voting districts.
In preparation for the Nov. 6 general election, voters can visit Vote411.org, enter their address and access a list of races and candidates, at the national, state, county and local levels, which will appear on their ballots.
Every candidate from governor on down has been invited to enter his or her biographical information and answer a number of questions posed by the League of Women Voters so that voters can compare candidates’ backgrounds and positions side-by-side and, thereby, make informed choices before going to the polls. Information about polling places, ballot issues, and candidate forums will also appear.
In September and October, our League will also be hosting and moderating candidate forums on Hilton Head Island so that local voters can hear directly from competing candidates. (A forum scheduled for Sept. 12 in Bluffton was cancelled due to uncertainty surrounding Hurricane Florence and evacuation.)
A forum for Beaufort County Council candidates, Districts 6, 8, 9, 10 and 11, will be held Sept. 20 at 5:30 p.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church on Hilton Head Island.
All candidates have confirmed their intention to participate.
The League will host forums for the Beaufort County Board of Education (Districts 7, 8, and 10) at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 10, Hilton Head Island Town Council (Wards 2, 4 and 5) at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 15, and Hilton Head Island Mayor at 5:30 Oct. 29. October forums will be televised by the Beaufort County channel. Details can be found on Vote411.org.
Voters are encouraged to visit Vote411.org, attend one or more candidate forums, make informed choices, and then let their voices be heard – by voting.
Nancy Williams is co-president of the League of Women Voters of Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Area.