South Carolina

New effort launched to register SC students for 2020 vote. Jesse Jackson is behind it

Rev. Jesse Jackson visits Myrtle Beach urging people to vote

Rev. Jesse Jackson visited Myrtle Beach raising awareness for civility, gun control, medicaid expansion and voter registration. He will travel the state with his Rainbow Push Coalition urging residents to vote.
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Rev. Jesse Jackson visited Myrtle Beach raising awareness for civility, gun control, medicaid expansion and voter registration. He will travel the state with his Rainbow Push Coalition urging residents to vote.

Jesse Jackson wants to register at least 20,000 new South Carolina voters ahead of the 2020 election.

The minister, activist and Greenville native told The State in a phone interview that he will focus on registering first-time voters at high schools and colleges around the Palmetto State ahead of next year’s presidential contest.

“Every high school senior should walk across the stage with a diploma in one hand and a voter registration card in the other,” Jackson said.

Jackson announced the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition initiative as he wrapped up a conference with Baptist ministers in Myrtle Beach on Thursday.

The 77-year-old former presidential candidate said he wants to see a push to counteract perceived efforts to restrict voting, such as several voters having their registration put on hold ahead of Georgia’s close governor’s election last year.

An Associated Press analysis found that 70 percent of those applications belonged to African American voters, in a contest that pitted African American Georgia state Rep. Stacey Abrams against white secretary of state and eventual winner Brian Kemp, whose office oversaw the election.

Since 2014, South Carolina voters also have had to present a government-issued photo ID to cast a ballot, a requirement that has prevented some voters from making their selection, despite a federal court ruling allowing votes from those who can’t get one if they cite a “reasonable impediment” to their having an ID.

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Jackson said the U.S. should adopt a constitutional right to vote and expanded voter protections.

“Why should an 18-year-old vote? You can vote for lower tuition,” Jackson said. “Why should college students vote? There are more 18 year olds than 81 year olds.”

Jackson also called for a renewed ban on assault weapons after a recent string of high-profile shootings, saying “Our schools are no longer a refuge. Our churches, temples and synagogues are no longer a refuge.”

Jackson concluded with a call for racial tolerance that included a shout-out to Clemson University’s (multi-racial) national champion football team. “We’ve learned to live together, that’s why Clemson is No. 1,” he said. “It’s about Gamecocks and Tigers, not white and black.”

This SC city is now the center of a public campaign against an abortion bill

The debate about abortion is spilling from the State House into the streets of the capital city. Specifically, its billboards.

The Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network launched a campaign this week aimed at building pressure on lawmakers as the legislative session comes to an end.

Billboards posted in four locations around Columbia say “Our state lawmakers just tried to ban abortion, jailing women and doctors. We deserve better.”

The billboards direct people to a website that calls the six-week abortion ban that passed the S.C. House last month — and a separate “personhood” bill that would outlaw abortions completely — “attacks on women’s health.”

The billboards went up Monday on South Assembly Street near Capital City Stadium; Blossom Street near Huger Street; at Gervais and Harden streets, and on Taylor Street near Harden Street.

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Locations of billboards put up by the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network opposing efforts by the S.C. Legislature to limit access to abortion. Provided

The five-figure ad campaign targets a bill approved by the House that will ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, about six weeks after conception. Opponents say that would be sooner than most women even know they are pregnant.

“We’re going to use multiple vehicles to make sure people are paying attention,” said Ann Warner, the CEO of WREN.

If the bill becomes law, any doctor who performs an abortion on a fetus with a heartbeat would be charged with a felony, punishable by a $10,000 fine or up to two years in prison, or both.

The bill has attracted the attention of pro-life activists at well, who have warned senators could be targeted for re-election if the bill doesn’t become law.

That bill doesn’t include penalties for women who seek abortions, but Warner said the campaign also seeks to draw attention to a “personhood” bill that would grant full legal protection to a fetus from the moment of conception, under which a woman could be charged with murder for seeking an abortion. That bill has not advanced in the Legislature.

Senators didn’t take up the abortion bill before the Legislature adjourned for the year on Thursday, but the bill will be waiting on the Senate calendar next year. Warner said her group will keep up the pressure.

In addition to the billboards, the campaign will include a digital ad push on social media as well as on the sites of The State and the Charleston Post and Courier, Warner said. The campaign will last about a month.

2020 endorsement watch

It didn’t take long for Joe Biden to wrack up endorsements in the Palmetto State.

Little more than a week after announcing his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, and on the heels of a Columbia campaign rally, Biden announced 23 endorsements from S.C. political figures this week.

Among the highlights in the list are former S.C. Democratic Party chairman and state Sen. Dick Harpootlian, for whose Senate campaign Biden cut a TV commercial, along with 2018 governor nominee James Smith and 2006 governor nominee Tommy Moore, who is also a registered lobbyist in the state.

The list also includes five state representatives, former members of the clergy, a Columbia city councilman (Sam Davis) and a Richland County councilman (Jim Manning).

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Bristow Marchant is currently split between covering Richland County and the 2020 presidential race. He has more than 10 years’ experience covering South Carolina. He won the S.C. Press Association’s 2015 award for Best Series on a toxic Chester County landfill fire, and was part of The State’s award-winning 2016 election coverage.
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