WHAT THIS PROGRAM IS ALL ABOUT
Voter turnout in America is low, and voter turnout in the Upstate is pathetic. During the 2012 state Republican and Democratic primaries, only 9.4 percent of voters turned out, just more than half of the also-low 17.3 percent turnout in 2008. Our state fares better during general elections, but many of our local and state elections are decided during the primaries. Virtually no state Senate, state House of Representatives, and County Council seats are competitive in the fall General Elections.
#VoteGreenville2016 is a new initiative by the Greenville Chamber – in partnership with the other 12 Chambers that are part of the Upstate Chamber Coalition – to boost turnout in 2016.
This is a non-partisan effort to register and turn out voters.
Here are key dates for this effort:
- May 14 – Last Day to Register for State Primaries
- June 14 – Primary Day
- June 28 – Primary Runoff
- October 8 – Last Day to Register for General Election
- November 8 – Election Day
WHY THIS PROGRAM MATTERS
When turnout is low, special interest groups can easily dominate an election. In 2012 in Greenville County, only 12 of the 40 races were opposed in November (and very few of those were serious challenges). The number of primary races in this area is significantly higher.
It is in the business community’s interest to promote an engaged and respectful dialogue on the issues that matter to our hometown. Democracy can’t function without educated voters who exercise their right to vote. When large numbers of voters show up and vote, our elected leaders are more moderate in their positions and more pragmatic in their approach.
CNN, MSNBC, and FOXNews might stir up passions at a federal level, but it is critical that business get engaged at the state and local level, where dozens of tax, zoning, license, development, and quality of life decisions are made every single day.
HOW YOU CAN JOIN US
The Greenville Chamber will print posters for your employee breakrooms or your storefronts that will outline the deadlines to register to vote (in April and September), and we will issue a second poster reminding people to get out and vote (May and October). This is a simple way a business can get involved and promote participation in our electoral process. If you have a chain of stores, several locations, or any business with single or multiple locations, we would love your assistance in finding places for these posters.
We will charge area businesses to give employees 30 to 60 minutes during Election Day to ensure they vote. This could either be allowing for a late arrival, a long lunch, or early leave for the day. During 2016, the election dates are June 14th and November 8th. In addition to simply allowing employees some time to vote, we would also love to have each business promote Election Day and encourage their employees to exercise their civic duty.
The Greenville Chamber, in partnership with The Greenville News, will hold candidate forums in the spring and the fall. In addition, the Chamber will hold “debate translation” events in the fall to help people understand just what exactly the presidential candidates are saying during the fall presidential debates.
Click here to sign your business up and let us know how you will help, or contact our Advocacy staff:
Vice President of Business Advocacy
Government Affairs Manager