WREN Testimony in Support of H.3822
by WREN Staff on Apr 15, 2021
This testimony was presented before the House Judiciary Election Laws Subcommittee on April 15, 2021
Thank you for the opportunity to submit written testimony to this committee. My name is Ann Warner and I am the CEO of the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN). WREN is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with a mission to build a movement to advance the health, economic well-being, and rights of South Carolina’s women, girls, and their families.
On behalf of our organization, I ask committee members to vote in favor of H.3822.
Voting is the foundation of our democracy, and our democracy can only function if every eligible voter has access to the voting franchise. One of WREN’s major contributions to our state is helping educate South Carolinians about how to advocate for their rights and the issues that they care about with their elected officials. Many people that we work with are concerned that their voices are not being heard here in Columbia or in Washington. They are concerned that lawmakers are actually trying to make it harder, rather than easier, to vote.
We support H.3822 because it would help to improve people’s access to voting, by instituting well-tested approaches to expand secure access through in-person and mail early voting for qualified electors. These measures are necessary because voting on a single workday no longer serves the needs of modern South Carolinians. Most adults in South Carolina work and care for their family members.
Here in South Carolina women are the primary or co-breadwinners in over two-thirds of families and are frequently primary caregivers to children, elders, or others in their households and communities. It is increasingly difficult for women to find time to cast a ballot while balancing these many responsibilities and it is simply unnecessary to require them to do so in a single 12-hour period in the midst of a workweek. Long lines at the polls and overwhelmed election officials and poll workers magnify the inconvenience and can cause them to turn away and lose trust in our democracy. We can update our laws to accommodate these modern-day realities by expanding access to early voting.
Early voting is essential to having a voting system that is free, fair, and accessible to all eligible citizens.
Early voting eases Election Day congestion, leading to shorter lines and improved poll-worker performance. It allows election officials to correct registration errors and fix voting system glitches earlier. Early voting is popular with voters, too, with study after study showing a significant positive effect on voter satisfaction. It is a critical element of a convenient and modern voting system.
3822 is a comprehensive bill that would bring to South Carolina absentee voting provisions that have been successful in other states through many election cycles. Respectfully, we ask that you vote YES on H.3822.
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