Charleston County’s Board of Elections and Voter Registration (BEVR) announced a new initiative, Vote in Honor of a Veteran, in an effort to increase voter participation. The program encourages the public to vote in honor of veterans, who have made sacrifices in order to protect our freedoms and rights, including our right to vote.
In the 2014 Gubernatorial General Election, 39 % of registered voters cast ballots. In an effort to increase that number, the BEVR is collaborating with local and state military groups and organizations in order to provide speakers to schools, club meetings and community events. Veterans will share their stories and experiences in the military and encourage voting.
“Vote in Honor of a Veteran will be a critical component of our office’s continual efforts in voter outreach and engagement,” said Joe Debney, BEVR Executive Director. “This initiative has the potential of increasing voter registration and turnout in Charleston County in a powerful way. We hope many people will participate in voting in honor of a veteran.”
The initiative includes a partnership with high schools, in order to reach our youngest voters. As part of this pilot program, BEVR has partnered with the Charleston Charter School for Math and Science, where a 16-week program will be embedded into the curriculum. The school program includes: a visit from a veteran who will share his/her experiences serving in the military and convey the importance of democracy and voting; an assignment for students based on that visit; a visit by a BEVR representative who will teach a lesson on voting procedures and give students the opportunity to register to vote and sign up to be poll workers; a final veteran visit to the classroom along with a mock election for students; incentives provided to students who present ‘I Voted’ stickers from the November elections.
For more information on the program and updates, visit our website at vote.charlestoncounty.org/vets and if you vote in honor of a veteran this election season, share your photo and use the #Vote4Vets on social media.
Civic and community groups interested in requesting a veteran to speak at one of their meetings or events can do so through the website. The website will also include a section where citizens can submit testimonials detailing why they’ve decided to Vote in Honor of a Veteran. Those who make submissions will be mailed a lapel pin to wear when they vote at the polls.