To the editor:
The underlying responsibility of the office of governor in any state is to protect the health, safety and welfare of its citizens. Last week, our Gov. Henry McMaster was met with a decision over the upcoming primary elections scheduled for June 9. The responsibility now comes on the heels of his prior orders closing businesses and beaches and with highway signs stating “Go Home Save Lives” and thus posed three options for him to take in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Those options can be summed up as the three Ps, to wit: pass, postpone or paper.
We now know that he chose pass as the June 9 election remains as status quo. He could have postponed the election into later summer months along with the rescheduling of the country music festival and motorcycle rallies. No one can determine when the magic time will exist in S.C. for voting safely. We can only hope that the COVID-19 curve will be flat on June 9 in South Carolina and we can avoid the events we saw on television during the recent Wisconsin election. Otherwise, our 46 counties and their many voting precincts will face those challenges that occurred there.
Obviously, the health, safety and welfare of Wisconsin voters and poll workers were extremely compromised as they faced issues that could have been avoided. It appears unfortunate that South Carolina could end up with those same problems. In Horry County, our 124 precincts will probably be reduced drastically in number due to the unavailability of churches and schools used as such. Also, as the majority of poll workers are seniors, the voter registration office cannot assume that they will volunteer their health to work. This means those who do show up and work will be placing themselves in harm’s way. I am one of those election poll workers for the past 18 years for the City of Myrtle Beach and Horry County. I am concerned for those working and voting that they are able to do so safely.
The health, safety and welfare issues confronting the state voters on June 9 are numerous, but the most glaring is this: Do you chance a coronavirus infection by voting in person? The best solution to this dilemma is to vote a paper ballot and mail it. This can be done by absentee ballot and a registered voter can obtain one simply by contacting the voter registration office. In Horry County, the number is 843-915-5440. Our service members overseas vote absentee and there is also a way you can do so with a valid conflict for being unavailable on June 9 to vote in person. So, be safe and vote safe. Vote your absentee ballot during the month of May and mail it.