Meeting Minutes: Voting Rights Committee – May 15, 2017

Attendance: Robin Girardi, Ava Kleinman, Kathy Maher, Jim Lawrence, Donna Lawrence, Ruthie Fritts, Dennis Smith, Shirley Hanson-Smith, Peggy Ledford, Margaret Chiara, Eileen Rice, Gary Rice, Ray Keegan, Judy Keegan, Pat Quigley

Ruthie Fritts motioned to accept April 22 minutes and Shirley Hanson-Smith seconded the motion.

Donna Lawrence gave a synopsis of each committee’s presentation at the May 9 SIAN general meeting. Margaret Chiara spoke about her update and presented a question to the voting committee. Should we concentrate on the Community’s concerns about certain issues i.e., immigration or gun control in order to draw attention to the importance of voting OR should we just concentrate on the mechanics of voting registration. Ava will take this question to the Steering Committee.

SIAN Website:

  • Ava will check to see if the SIAN website is up and running and open to the public. She asked if the Voting Committee wanted our minutes published on the website. Committee members agreed to this but reserved the right to withhold some discussion details.
  • It was felt that if all committees published their minutes on the website that questions of “overlapping” with each other could be resolved.
  • Ava will also check to see if SIAN has a mission statement. Ava will see if links to ACLU, LWV, Indivisible Charleston and the Board of Elections have links on the website.

Summer Registration Drives:

  • The committee would like to “test the waters” during the summer in preparation for Voter Registration Drives in the Fall.
  • Robin stated that there are several organizations that already conduct Voter Registration Drives and they are willing to help us. Before we ask for help from them, we need feedback from the area churches, schools and other gathering places to ensure we have enough people to make it worthwhile. The biggest worry would be the equipment needed for Photo ID’s if there were a small number of participants. All committee members are encouraged to contact one organization and ask what we can do to help people register to vote.
  • Peggy Ledford will get a list of general stores and other gathering places in Wadmalaw.
  • Eileen and Gary Rice will contact Barrier Free Clinic and Our Lady of Mercy Outreach.
  • Kathy Maher will contact the Churches involved in the Charleston Area Justice Ministry.
  • Ruthie Fritts will contact the Los Puentes Market.
  • Donna Lawrence will contact the church across from Los Puentes Market.

Everyone should make calls when we receive an Action Alert from SIAN. Robin and Ava will work on an Action Alert for our committee as there are some upcoming pieces of legislation where we need to be vocal.

Margaret had a meeting with John Reynolds and told us about John’s efforts in the schools to educate the students about the importance of registering to vote. On September 27 Charleston Collegiate juniors and seniors will start that process for this year. John previously offered a similar program at St. John’s High School and it will likely be repeated during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Discussion ensued about expanding this program (or investigating whether one already exists) in other Charleston area high schools and colleges. Kathy Maher stated that the administrator in charge of such programs for Charleston is Jane Riley.

John Reynolds and some of the Freedom Fighters are celebrating their 50th Anniversary. It will be observed at a special program at Our Savior Church on June 22. The public is invited to attend. Here is the information: Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m. Church of Our Saviour – 4416 Betsy Kerrison Parkway – Johns Island.  Also see attached flyer: Meeting of Freedom Fighters

Next Meeting: Monday June 19 at 4:00 pm at the Lake House

Posted in Voting Rights