Hey everyone! This weekend was a huge one for the South Carolina Forward Party team. They had two major developments over the weekend, and I'll cover them both in a moment. But first, a bit of nerdy housekeeping on South Carolina party recognition.
Any organization that wants to become an official political party in South Carolina has to collect 10,000 signatures from registered voters in the state. These situations are always a little complicated, and that legal minimum - 10,000, in this case - is never your actual goal. Signatures are thrown out or counted as invalid for a variety of reasons (illegible handwriting, an incorrect address, or an address that doesn't align with the voters' current voter registration information, just to name a few). For this reason, the true goal is more like 18,000. This offers a bit of cushion: even if the state throws away 8,000 signatures, you're still safe.
South Carolina makes this process extra complicated, for a handful of reasons:
- The petition form, provided by the state, must be printed on paper of a specific weight and size. That paper is not easy to find - there are only a handful of shops in the state of South Carolina that sell it.
- In order to be counted, a signer must know their precinct and their voter registration number offhand. If they don't, volunteers can't really look it up afterward, because looking up a voter on the South Carolina's SotS website after the fact requires having the last four digits of the voters' social security number, which we'd never ask for in a million years. So, effectively, we can only knock on doors in South Carolina of voters for whom we have registration information (as opposed to tabling in parks, public spaces and festivals, which is much faster). OR, we must insist that they look up their voter registration information while we're with them, which slows everything down and is a bit annoying for everyone involved.
Okay, gripe session over.
We've arrived at our first major update: the South Carolina team officially launched their signature collection effort this weekend! On Saturday, a group of ten volunteers officially kicked off the effort in Charleston. On Sunday, 25-30 volunteers spent 3-5 hours knocking on doors in the pouring rain in Columbia.
Overseen by Clint Eisenhauer, this team is deeply capable, dedicated and earnest. Honestly, some of the nicest folks I've ever met. They've been preparing for this for months, and the day has finally arrived. If you're in SC (or a neighboring state) and would like to help the team achieve party status, they need all the volunteers they can get! Click here to join the team.
And here's the second update: on Monday, Forward joined a coalition of leaders from across the political spectrum on the steps of the state capitol to rally for Ranked Choice Voting. Andrew Yang spoke, as did State Rep. Jermaine Johnson, who announced he'll be introducing a bipartisan bill in support of Ranked Choice Voting.
Lots of exciting things are in the works in South Carolina! I'll leave you with this: I was in town, as was Leslie Villegas, Forward Party's Regional Organizing Coordinator for the Southeast. She made this wonderful video about the experience:
What does building a new political party look like? Let's find out in South Carolina. @FWD_SC @LeslieV0918 #ForwardParty #ForwardTogether pic.twitter.com/7GX5eTl9ZE— Forward Party (@Fwd_Party) February 3, 2023
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