LAURINBURG — Sixty-five county Democrats in attendance at the party’s convention this past Saturday were encouraged to make their voices heard during the May primary.
“It is our opportunity to remind each other how important it is to get out and vote,” said Joyce McDow, acting chair and first vice president, at the 10:30 a.m. meeting at the Scotland County Courthouse. “It is a crucial time to remind ourselves that every vote counts. We must act.”
Randy Voller, state party chairman, seconded McDow’s words in a statement sent in lieu of his appearance, which was read during the convention.
“Now’s the time for all democrats and our allies to stand up, be counted and fight for our values,” he wrote in the statement.
In his statement, Voller expressed his concern for single mothers and families living paycheck to paycheck, saying children should receive high-quality education, citizens should be able to pursue economic opportunities and women should be given the power to make choices for their own health.
“Investing in our communities is our investment in our future,” he wrote.
State Sen. Kay Hagan also sent a statement to be read at the convention.
“When the best interest of middle-class families” is in jeopardy, Hagan wrote, she is “not willing to back down.”
“I remain focused on sensible efforts,” she wrote, which included improving opportunities for students and equality for women in the workplace. She also asked for volunteers to help her campaign.
Candidates for Scotland County public offices were invited to share their platforms, as well as education and community ties.
“We are glad that you’re running,” McDow said. “We need good candidates.”
Also at the meeting, a recap of changes in the state voting law were presented, including the elimination of same-day voter registration and straight-party voting, changes to early voting hours and voting outside of precincts. Poll officials will ask to see identification this year, but it will not be required until 2016.
McDow urged party members to pledge financial support so that a democratic headquarters can be opened in the county. She said the party hopes to do so by September.
McDow, party chairman Douglas Young and second vice president Betty Gholston were elected to serve as delegates to the congressional district convention on May 17, as well as to the State Convention and Jefferson Jackson Banquet on June 7. Walter Rogers and Carol McColl were elected as alternatives.
“I think during the last election several seats were lost by five votes or less,” McDow said. “Every vote is important.”
Rachel McAuley can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 15. Follow her on Twitter @rachelmcauley1.