Happy 2024, Simple Civics listeners! We have a jam-packed election year ahead of us and wanted to give you a preview of things to come on the podcast. Expect in-depth discussions and interviews with key candidates, offering a closer look at the personalities shaping our political future. Tune in to learn about key voting dates, what we can anticipate in the 2024 elections, how to get involved, and more!
Katy Smith:[0:03] Happy New Year, Simple Civics listeners. There is going to be a lot going on this year with elections, not just at the presidential level, but here at the county as well.
And so Nathaniel DeSantis, our producer, and I will talk about what we are on the lookout for and what you can do to make this your best civics year ever. Take a listen.
Nathaniel DeSantis:[0:27] It is officially 2024. 2023 is behind us. It’s a new year, which marks a new chapter for the podcast.
Katy Smith:[0:35] Yay.
Nathaniel DeSantis:[0:35] And I’m curious to know what will be on our minds this year.
Katy Smith:[0:40] Well, you may have heard that it is an election year and we get excited in election years.
Every year is an election year, actually, for us, as we’ve had municipal candidates and statewide office candidates and the like.
But in 2024, most people are thinking about presidential candidates.
And yes, that is important.
But we are really focused on those local offices and state offices as well.
And so this year, half of our county council, half of our school board, all of our House of Representative members for the state, and all of our senators in the state are up for election.
So it is really important on the local level, just as much as at the presidential level.
Nathaniel DeSantis:[1:22] That’s a lot you just listed. And that’s coming from me. I’m used to all these candidates coming on, but that’s more than usual for us, it sounds like.
But when will people have the opportunity to vote?
Katy Smith:[1:34] All right. So this is going to be a year that you have several times to vote.
And so you need to pay attention.
In February is our Democratic and our Republican presidential primary.
Now, the Democratic primary in South Carolina is scheduled for February 3rd.
We are going to presume that Joe Biden will be the party nominee, but presidential primary, there will be several choices on the ballot.
And so February 24th is the time to come out.
Now, everyone remember, you might call yourself a registered Democrat or a registered Republican, and that’s a registration you did in your own mind because we do not register by party in South Carolina.
So you can choose to vote in either one of those, but you cannot vote in both.
Then we have a statewide primary on June 11th.
That is a really, really, really important primary, everyone.
I cannot emphasize it enough.
Again, on that same day, we will have a Republican and a Democratic primary where the parties choose who their nominee will be to go on the ballot in the general election.
You have not registered as a Democrat or a Republican, so you can choose which one of those two you want to vote in.[2:46] Then, if there is a runoff between any candidates, that will happen on June 25th.
We do have a lot of runoffs across the state, and so that is very likely that somewhere in Greenville County, we will have a race that has a runoff.
So you would go back about two weeks later.
And then we have the general election on November 5th, 2024.
So that’s a lot of times to vote. Each one is so important, and we can talk a little bit more about that. If you want to vote, you need to register for any election about a month beforehand.
And this includes if you need to update your registration, if you’ve moved or something’s changed. So here’s what I would advise.
Just go check on your registration right now. We’ll put a link in the show notes.
It’s super simple to check if something is wrong or if you’re not actually registered.
Go take care of that right now and then you’re set for the entire year.
One really neat thing is that if you are going to be 18 years old on November 5th, but you are 17 right now, you can vote in all of those elections that I mentioned.
Because the main time when the candidate gets voted into office is on November 5th. That is when you need to be 18.
So if your birthday is on November 4th, you can go ahead and register and you can come on out and vote and that you get your little sticker and your opportunity to participate in democracy before you’ve even had that 18th birthday.
Nathaniel DeSantis:[4:04] You can post it on your Instagram.
Katy Smith:[4:05] Yeah, TikTok.
Nathaniel DeSantis:[4:08] Something most people don’t realize that I think is really interesting, because when people think of South Carolina politically, they’re like, oh, it’s South Carolina. Like, you know, we’re a small state.
It’s like, oh, who really cares? But we have one of the earliest presidential primaries, and it’s very important for setting the stage for what happens after that.
Katy Smith:[4:26] That is very true. We are a very important state.
Nathaniel DeSantis:[4:29] So that’s what’s on our mind for this year. But what will we be on the lookout for?
Katy Smith:[4:36] Well, it is always very interesting and exciting to see who files to run.
We know these offices are very important.
We know we want people to come out and vote, but who’s going to actually run?
We will not know until the filing deadline for these county and state offices on April 1st at noon.
So filing opens mid-March. If someone’s interested in running for one of those county council seats or for a state house, whatever, they go down to the Greenville County Election Commission, they file to run, and when that deadline comes, then we can go look and see who our choices will be.
And then on August 15th at noon is when the school board candidates file, because our school board in Greenville County is nonpartisan.
So that is another important date to see who has filed.
So we’ll be looking out for that. And then, of course, we will be interested to see who wins those primary races in June.
Nathaniel DeSantis:[5:33] That is conceivably a lot of candidates that are going to be running for a lot of different offices. Are we going to interview them?
Katy Smith:[5:40] You may have noticed I put a whole flurry of calendar holds on your calendar. The answer is yes.
Folks, we have found that offering these candidate interviews is a real benefit to you and to candidates, we presume because we get thousands of listens and a ton of social media interaction when we post these on Facebook and on Instagram.
We already have dates held for April and May to interview all of our local office candidates.
We’ll see if we can manage doing our state House and Senate candidates as well.
I would really like to do it. We’ll see if time allows.
And then we’ll do our school board candidates later this year, again, in partnership with public education partners.
Nathaniel DeSantis:[6:18] So you’ve said what we’re looking out for, but what do listeners need to know?
Katy Smith:[6:23] I cannot emphasize enough, listeners, that your votes are so important. Okay.
First of all, on the statewide primary, which is what that June 11th primary is called, when you’re going to choose your county council member, if you live in a district that’s up, your state house, your Senate.
In South Carolina, only 40% of our state House and Senate races are competitive in November, meaning the election really happens on June 11.
You might have two Republicans file to run for state House, no Democrats file.
And so whoever wins that primary is your representative.
Or you might have four people run for Senate.
And they’re only Republicans or only Democrats. And so the election is chosen in June.
You walk in there in November in most of the races in our state, and there’s only one person on the ballot because it happened back in the summer.
So you coming out and helping to vote in June is really imperative.
We do not care who you vote for. We say this all the time.
We just want you to vote. And in 2022, only 13% of registered voters took part in the summer primary election.
That is not okay. So we need y’all to put on your calendars June 11th or before because early voting will open two weeks ahead of time.[7:52] That is the number one thing we need you to know. The number two thing we need you to know is that people vote when their friends encourage them to do so.
And so you can play a huge role in helping share this information with friends and family members, check in with friends and family members to make sure they are registered, make sure they’ve checked in.
If you know someone who’s a teenager, tell them that they can register now and vote if they’re going to be 18.[8:17] Now, this is a big ask. But another thing you might choose to do is to run for office yourself.
This all works best when good, dedicated people want to serve.[8:29] And it could be you. And so really think about if you are being called to help your fellow resident, your fellow citizen in a special way.
We’ve had episodes about how to run, what a candidacy looks like.
And there’s lots of folks who’d be glad to give you advice, I’m sure.
If you feel like that’s not you, you could also help someone who you believe in who is choosing to run.
And we’ll put a link in the show notes for how to really support a candidate that you believe in and give them some gas in the tank this year.
And the last thing I would say is that this whole system works when you participate in it at whatever level feels right to you.
But election workers, poll workers are always needed.
And so this should be the year you take your participation in democracy to the next level and sign up to be a poll manager – that’s what poll workers are called – with the Greenville County Election Commission.[9:19] We have a lot of wonderful, long-time dedicated poll workers, many of whom are past retirement age.
And it would be great to have a pipeline of new folks that are participating and seeing how the whole system works and letting their friends know about it.
And you’ll notice I did not use the term volunteer because it is actually a paid position to be a poll worker on election day. It is a long day.
You are showing up at your elementary school or your church or community center at 6 a.m. to help get set up, and you’re taking everything down.
But it is just really one of the coolest experiences to know that you are one of thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands across the country that are helping make democracy work.
So I really suggest that that be one of your things you do in 2024.
Nathaniel DeSantis:[10:05] I’m looking forward to doing all these recordings with you, Katy.
I’m sure everyone listening is looking forward to all the candidates that are going to come on and all the opportunities to go vote and flex their Democratic muscles.
And clearly, I think something is resonating because, I mean, we’ve reached just for the election episodes with candidates, tens of thousands of people.
And, you know, I think it’ll continue into 2024.
Katy Smith:[10:27] Me too. Thanks for all your help with it, Nathaniel.
Catherine Puckett: Simple Civics: Greenville County is a project of Greater Good Greenville. Greater Good Greenville was catalyzed by the merger of the Nonprofit Alliance and the Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy. You can learn more on our website at greatergoodgreenville.org. This is a production of Podcast Studio X.