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Gov. Henry McMaster's plan to re-open every public school in South Carolina received widespread scorn almost immediately, with teachers associations, education groups, parents, school districts, Democrats and Education Superintendent Molly Spearman declaring that students should return to school only when safe. It was a rare smackdown for the Columbia Republican

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As officials prepare for the Nov. 3 election, one certainty is clear: It's coming with a big price tag.

COVID-19-related worries are bringing demands for steps to make sure elections just four months away are safe. But long-promised federal aid to help cash-starved states cope is stalled on Capitol Hill.

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