Bojangle’s, Bi-Lo and C&S Bank have teamed up with the Palmetto Project to increase voter registration in South Carolina.
Beginning, today, voter registration forms will be available to the public at all their 263 branches, stores and offices.
In addition, the three companies plan to spend more than $150,000 to advertise the project. They have already conducted voter registration drives among their employees.
Phil Noble, executive director of the Palmetto Project, a community service organization which aims to help communities in the state, said South Carolina is dead-last in the percentage of eligible people registered to vote.
“We used to be 50th in voter turnout too, but now we’ve moved up to 49th,” he said at a press conference to announce the drive Thursday. Similar press conferences were scheduled to be made in Columbia and Greenville.
William Webster IV of Greenville, president of Bojangle’s, said his company worked with the Palmetto Project two years ago on a similar project. In seven weeks, more than 11,000 voters were registered in the state.
This year’s campaign goal is to register 25,000 voters.
“Last time, it was a presidential year,” Webster said. “But this is an unusual year, too, with the sting in Columbia. We hope that will motivate people to do something about government instead of becoming more cynical.”
Allen Meetze, executive vice president of C&S in Charleston, called the project “a golden opportunity to continue our civic involvement … and to encourage all South Carolinians to exercise their obligation to vote.”
Both Albert McAlister, chairman of the state Democratic Party, and Barry Wynn, chairman of the state Republican Party, put aside their differences Thursday to applaud the project.
“We will work together all day. Then tomorrow we’ll go against each other again,” Wynn said with a laugh.
Margaret Townsend, a member of the state Election Commission, also commended the companies for making the effort.
“Out main goal this year is to register 25,000 voters,” she said. She said the deadline for registration forms by mail is Sept. 22. People can register in person through Oct. 6.
The Palmetto Project campaign will end Sept. 22.