Gov. Henry McMaster has now said that he thinks no special safety measures are needed for the coming elections in South Carolina. This response is unacceptable to the League of Women Voters of South Carolina and to the many concerned citizens throughout our state.
Until COVID-19 is conquered, until a proven vaccine exists, the state’s citizens must not be required to gather in crowded polling places on election days, risking their health and potentially spreading contagion throughout communities. Equally important, our poll workers and other personnel must be able to do their work without danger of personal harm.
We urgently call on our leaders to cooperate with requests made by our state and county election officials, and, in particular, to:
1. Provide expanded opportunities for absentee voting, for example, by enlarging the criteria, adding more days for in-person absentee voting and/or whatever means seem most practicable.
2. Increase the time allowed for counting mailed-in ballots.
3. And allow 30 days, rather than three, for certifying the results.
S.C. citizens should not be asked to risk their health in exercising the right to vote.
Co-president, League of Women Voters of South Carolina
One of the Lowcountry’s colorful traditions interrupted by COVID-19 is the spring tearooms held each year at churches, including Grace Church Cathedral, whose tea room is held during the Spoleto Festival USA.
The good news is that the Grace tearoom, which has given more than $1 million to area nonprofits during its 29-year history, has not been canceled, only postponed until Oct. 19-27 during the Preservation Society of Charleston’s fall house tours.
It won’t be the same this year. The church will sell quarts of homemade soup, chicken salad and whole desserts for people to take home.
The Church Mouse Boutique, which features gently used silver, china, linens, jewelry, books and objects of art, will be in business.
And the church will exhibit the work of local artists who agree to donate to the tearoom a portion of their income. All proceeds go to support area nonprofits.
We understand that we might have to revisit these decisions as October approaches, but the people of Grace are committed to supporting charitable organizations in the community, and the tearooms are the primary way we do so.
This year, the need is likely to be greater than ever. So please mark your calendars. We will all be ready for a tour of Charleston’s beautiful historic houses and a lovely supper at the end of the day. A supper you don’t have to cook.
Tea Room and Mouse
I appreciated Amy Armstrong’s op-ed in the April 18 Post and Courier as we approached the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
As COVID-19 makes us increasingly aware of our need for science, science is being systematically eliminated from major policy decisions at the federal level.
How tragically ironic that as we learn more about how communities of color and poverty in environmentally degraded areas succumb to death from the pandemic far more often than those of us who live in more protected ones, federal regulations that safeguard our health and environment are being reduced or eliminated.
As citizens, we need to make clear to the president and our congressional delegation that lessening safeguards sets us up for bad outcomes in this pandemic and in future ones. Is that the legacy we want to leave our grandchildren and future generations?
Many in the community have celebrated Passover and Easter. How can we show a love of God the creator by putting profit ahead of protection? God gave us stewardship of his creation, and this time challenges us to prove worthy of his love and trust.
At this traumatic time, we cannot allow a rollback of keystone provisions in President Richard Nixon’s National Environmental Policy Act, especially efforts to gut public input.
Now is not the time to lessen any environmental standards, such as loosening air pollution goals and changing Clean Water Act rules that affect our unique Carolina Bays.
Time to upgrade
While most public places have no-touch toilets, hand dryers, towel dispensers and sinks, there are still places that do not. This would be a good time for those places to upgrade for the health of their customers.
PAUL A. KRECHMAN