GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Vice President Kamala Harris made her way to the Upstate on Monday in an effort to encourage South Carolinians to get vaccinated. While in Greenville, Vice President Harris also took the time to meet with local advocates to talk about voting rights.
The group talked about what efforts are happening in South Carolina to get people to vote, how election infrastructure can be strengthened, and some of the ways to expand voting rights through bills that are currently moving through the legislature.
“And how important it is for us to speak truth to power so that we’re able to basically make sure that we can keep sacred and secure voting rights for everybody,” said Senior Pastor at Saint Mark United Methodist, Telley Lynnette Gadson.
She said she emphasized how important it is to recognize grassroots opportunities that can be used to remind people how powerful their voice is when voting.
It’s something Gadson does within her church.
“A coalition of being able to do voter registration on our campus and encouraging people that if they know anybody who’s not yet registered, or who is not an active voter, they would encourage them to do that,” said Gadson.
Elias Valentin is the Chair for the Greenville Democratic Party.
He said he brought to Vice President Harris’ attention the need for funding.
“From the federal government down to the states, which then trickles down to our local municipalities,” Valentin explained. “So they can run free and fair elections with the resources they need.”
He said even though it’s an off-year, he’s still working to educate people about their rights.
Valentin said his efforts also highlight municipal elections, as he said they typically draw a lower turnout.
“So we’re trying to really impart to people, take a stake in your own government because you’ll see the changes you want to see when your voice is heard,” said Valentin.
As for Sulaiman Ahmad, who is an Intern with the South Carolina Justice Project, he said his concerns revolve more around protecting voters and not making voting rights a partisan issue.
“We’re looking at partisan issues, and partisan lines being drawn for voting rights, and that simply should not be the case,” Ahmad said. “With my discussions with her, I emphasized the fact that voting rights are an American issue. It’s not a Democrat issue, it’s not a Republican issue.”