Category Archives: Democracy

Election Workers Needed in SC

South Carolina Needs More Election Workers

Many election workers from past years are in high-risk categories for COVID-19 and understandably do not feel safe participating in person this year. The South Carolina Election Commission has posted this plea on its website:

“If you are willing and able to serve, South Carolina needs you.  The fact is we must have poll managers to have elections. Unless new poll managers step up to serve, we expect counties will have to close and consolidate polling places, which can cause large crowds and longer lines for voters.”

The American Bar Association (ambar.org/vote) and the South Carolina Bar (@SCBAR) also encourage law students and lawyers to step up and ensure voters can cast their ballots on Election Day.

What Do South Carolina Election Workers Receive?

The SC Election Commission specifies this pay breakdown, which does not include the supplement that some counties offer:

Poll Managers (and poll manager’s assistants): $60 for attending training + $15 for COVID-19 training + $75 for working on election day + $15 for additional COVID-19 related duties on election day = $165 Total

Clerks (the lead poll manager):  Poll Manager Pay + $60 for additional training and responsibilities = $225 Total 

For everyone’s safety this year, the SC Election Commission will provide:

  • masks
  • gloves
  • hand sanitizer
  • sanitizing wipes
  • disposable cotton swabs for making touchscreen selections
  • an online election worker training option

No Class on Election Day

University of South Carolina School of Law’s academic calendar has no classes scheduled on Election Day—Tuesday, November 3, 2020. 

How Can Law Students Be Election Workers?

Law students who meet the necessary criteria are encouraged to apply to be election workers. Poll Managers must be registered to vote in South Carolina. A Poll Manager may not serve at any polling place where they are a candidate or the spouse, parent, child, or sibling of a candidate on the ballot. A Clerk (the lead poll manager) must serve either in the county where they are registered to vote or an adjoining county.

More on South Carolina Elections

Laws governing South Carolina elections can be found in Title 7 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. To do further research on these laws, try starting with an annotated version of the South Carolina Code (such as through subscription providers Westlaw, Lexis, or Fastcase), or ask a law librarian for help navigating free online or print resources related to Title 7.

Remote Resources for Anti-Racism

2016

Nishaun T. Battle, From Slavery to Jane Crow to Say Her Name: An Intersectional Examination of Black Women and Punishment, 15 Meridians 109 (2016). bit.ly/SayHerNamebyBattle

Juliet Hooker, Black Lives Matter and the Paradoxes of U.S. Black Politics,  44 Political Theory 448 (2016). bit.ly/BlackLivesMatterbyHooker

2017

Christopher J. Lebron, The Making of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of an Idea (2017). bit.ly/MakingofBlackLivesMatterbyLebron

2018

Brittney Cooper & Treva B. Lindsey, M4BL and the Critical Matter of Black Lives,  41 Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly 731 (2018). bit.ly/M4BLbyCooperandLindsey

Vanessa Williamson, Kris-Stella Trump & Katherine Levine Einstein, Black Lives Matter: Evidence that Police-Caused Deaths Predict Protest Activity, 16 Perspectives on Politics 400 (2018). bit.ly/PoliceCausedDeathsPredictProtestbyWilliamson

2019

Megan Ming Francis, The Price of Civil Rights: Black Lives, White Funding, and Movement Capture,  53 Law & Society Review 275 (2019). bit.ly/PriceofCivilRightsbyFrancis

Alcinda Manuel Honwana, Youth Struggles: From the Arab Spring to Black Lives Matter & Beyond, 62 African Studies Review 8 (2019). bit.ly/YouthStrugglesbyHonwana

Register to Vote

by guest author Melanie Griffin

Make sure you can vote this year by keeping up with registration details and deadlines. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  •  To vote in South Carolina, you need to register at least thirty days before the election in which you want to participate. For example, the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary is on February 29 in SC this year, so to vote in that, you’ll need to be registered by January 30. To vote in the general presidential election, get registered by October 4.
  • South Carolina has open primaries, which means anyone registered to vote can vote in either party’s primary without officially declaring themselves a member of that party.
  • If you’re registering to vote in SC for the first time, you’ll need a South Carolina driver’s license or photo ID from an SC DMV.
  • If you’ve moved since the last time you voted in SC, make sure your address is updated (especially if you’ve switched counties). You can change your address on the DMV’s website in about five minutes at no cost. Your address must be up to date with the DMV before you can update it for your voter registration.
  • Students can register to vote “where they reside while attending college,” according to the South Carolina State Election Commission. They interpret this as either the address you live at while attending your classes, like your dorm or off-campus apartment, or the address you go to when you’re not in classes, such as your parent’s house, so you can register with either. Check the South Carolina Code of Laws section 7-1-25 for state election residency laws.
  • There’s also a national voter registration application for students who want to register for home addresses that are outside South Carolina. The U.S. Vote Foundation website lets you search for other states’ deadlines if you are planning on registering elsewhere; they’re not all on the same schedule.
  • If you won’t physically be in the place where you’re registered to vote on election day, apply for an absentee ballot. You can do that in person until 5 p.m. the day before the election. You can also apply for an absentee ballot over the internet or mail, and this requires you to complete and send in your absentee application by 5 p.m. four days prior to the election. You’re required to cast your absentee ballot by 7 p.m. the day of the election.

Find more details about voting in SC on the South Carolina Election Commission’s website.

Resource Review: HeinOnline’s Presidential Impeachment Library

by guest author Dan Brackmann

In a timely move, HeinOnline has debuted its Presidential Impeachment Library. “The library collects resources related to all four U.S. presidents who have faced impeachment. Organized by the four affected presidents, this collection brings together a variety of documents both contemporaneous and asynchronous to each president’s impeachment, presenting both a snapshot of the political climate as each impeachment played out and the long view history has taken of each proceeding.”

screenshotThe library also includes relevant Congressional Research Service reports as well as a curated list of scholarly articles, external links, and a bibliography, providing avenues for further resarch on this topic. One of these is the ever-growing Whistleblower Complaint on Ukraine, compiled by Kelly Smith at UC San Diego, which brings together offical documents related to the whistleblower complaint and impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump. Hein plans to continue expanding its collection with new material, particularly as it becomes available for the current investigation into Donald Trump.

Find HeinOnline from the main library page:screenshot

If you have questions or ideas for future Resource Reviews, please email Dan Brackmann.

Life Hacks: Free Tax Filing

The IRS allows tax returns to be e-filed for free. Depending on the taxpayer’s income, free help in filling out the forms (whether through software, in person, or both) may also be available.

Free Fillable Forms

Everyone can file their individual federal income tax return free electronically, no matter what their income, with free fillable forms. However, these are only the forms, without guidance on how to fill them out.

Free Software

Those with incomes below $66,000 can opt for free brand-name software that guides the user in how to fill out tax forms. Some free software options also provide free state tax return filing. The information is here: irs.gov/freefile

Free In-Person Help

Those with incomes below $55,000 can also get free in-person help doing their taxes. Hours and addresses of VITA sites local to University of South Carolina School of Law—including the law school itself through the Pro Bono program—are here.

Source: Internal Revenue Service

Electronic Fourth of July

The library is closed Tuesday, July 4 for the national holiday.
 
Meanwhile, our electronic resources are still available to current law students, 2017 graduates, and law faculty.
 
For example, the book American Soul: The Contested Legacy of the Declaration of Independence, edited by Justin Buckley Dyer, is available in electronic format. It contains materials relating to the Declaration of Independence, from Thomas Jefferson’s rough draft, to speeches by Frederick Douglass, Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, and more.
To include this e-book in your Fourth of July reading:
  • Find it in our catalog, which is searchable on our homepage, law.sc.edu/library. For example, you could type in the search terms “American Soul” and press Enter, then click on the title.
  • Under the words “Connect to:” click the link that says “USC All libraries from EBSCOhost.”
  • Click the link that says “USC School of Law.”
  • You can browse the Table of Contents or view the whole book as a PDF, among other options.
We wish everyone a thoughtful and well-researched Fourth of July.

Absentee In-Person: Yes, Really.

SC absentee voting rules

It sounds like a contradiction in terms, but “absentee in-person” really is what South Carolina calls its version of early voting.

A voter who has any one of the 16 listed reasons for not voting on the scheduled voting day can go in person to their county voter registration and elections office to pick up an absentee ballot, fill it out, and submit their vote ahead of time.

The locations of these offices, as well as additional satellite absentee voting offices that will be open additional hours as November 8 approaches, are on the SC Election Commission’s website.

Electoral College Knowledge

Congressional Research Service

The Library of Congress offers the Congressional Research Service—hundreds of policy analysts, attorneys and information professionals who provide in-depth analysis on issues facing Congress. Immediately following the 2000 presidential election, there was uncertainty as to which candidate had won Florida’s 25 electoral votes because the popular vote in that state was close, and a recount process was underway. In response to questions about how this could affect the process for officially electing the President, the Congressional Research Service wrote a memo entitled Overview of Electoral College Procedure and the Role of Congress.

Faithless Electors

The popular vote in a presidential election does not directly elect the president. Voting results in the selection of electors who pledge to vote for a particular candidate for president. A faithless elector is one who does not cast the vote as pledged. South Carolina Code Section 7-19-80 provides that it is a crime for an elector from this state to be a faithless elector.

Winner Take All

There are two states—Nebraska and Maine—whose electoral votes are not apportioned according to the winner-take-all system. The Nebraska legislature defeated a bill in April that would have ended the practice of apportioning its electors based on the popular vote in each congressional district. Maine’s law provides for two at-large electors and one elector from each congressional district.

Further Resources

Click here to see resources in the Coleman Karesh Law Library relating to the Electoral College.

Book Cover: After the People VoteBook Cover

 

 

 

Register to Vote in SC; Understand SC Voting Requirements

It’s impossible not to have heard about the upcoming presidential election. However, law students who recently moved to South Carolina might not yet be registered to vote here or know the state’s requirements regarding the voting process.

Voter Registration

The South Carolina Election Commission offers online and in-person voter registration. If a voter is unsure whether they may already be registered, they should first check their voter registration online. The deadline to register to vote in the 2016 general election is October 8.

Personalized Voter Information

To confirm where to vote in person on November 8, a registered SC voter can input their county, name, and date of birth and get the address of the precinct where they vote. The same online form also shows which districts the voter lives in. By clicking on “View Sample Ballot,” the voter can see the names of all candidates as they will appear on the ballot in applicable congressional, state, and local races.

Photo ID

Poll workers request a photo ID before someone votes in person in South Carolina. However, those who cannot produce photo ID may vote a provisional ballot. In order for the provisional ballot to count, the voter must either show photo ID to the election commission before the election is certified (usually two or three days after the election); or bring a non-photo voter registration card to the polls and sign an affidavit as to the “reasonable impediment” preventing the voter from getting a photo ID. See further details in the image below, or on scvotes.org. The relevant election law is codified at South Carolina Code Section 7-13-710.

SC Election Laws - Photo ID

Constitution Day 2016

constitution-day

To celebrate Constitution Day, please consider attending the speech entitled “The Magna Carta, the U.S. Constitution, and the Rule of Law,” by Mr. William Hubbard in the law school auditorium at 4 pm.

Also, to celebrate the excellent turnout at Library Fest on Monday the 12th, the law library will place 13 PokémonGOTM “lure modules” during the lunch hour on Friday the 16th (12:40 pm to 1:40 pm). Look at the Commissioners’ Oak in the law school courtyard, and beyond.