DeAnna Dickerson

Editor’s note: Denton Dickerson, who is quoted in this story, is the brother of DeAnna Dickerson.

(Columbia, S.C.) – As the Nov. 3 election approaches, many Black South Carolina voters are ready to vote, especially in the presidential election, where they will choose between incumbent Republican President Donald Trump and former Vice President and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

James Felder, a civil rights and voting activist, said he encourages Black voters to cast their ballot as early as possible by going to the local offices and casting an in-person absentee ballot.

While the contentious political climate and the COVID-19 pandemic may have some voters feeling intimidated or weary of going to vote in person, Felder said authorities are legally obligated to stand a respectable distance from voters at polling stations.

Felder said voters should feel free to “ask for help from the voting workers at the polls,” if they are unsure of who is on the ballot.

After high voter turnout during the South Carolina primary and a record number of early votes already cast, that state can expect to see much higher voter participation than in past years.

Columbia resident Evelyn Edwards, a real estate investor and entrepreneur, said she is eager to vote, because of her interest in politics.

“I listen to politics everyday because how we live, where we live…politics is part of our lives,” Edwards said.

“For me, being a Black American, being a female and the Voting Rights (Act) of 1965, it’s imperative that we make sure that we participate, because a lot of people have died and fought for this and I will not miss the opportunity,” she said.

Edwards said she planned to either vote absentee in-person or mail in her ballot.

While she may not like every candidate’s ideas and policies, she said there is still “good in any party” and voting is important, especially in local races.

“Educate yourself” and “see what matters to you the most,” said Edwards. “If you want to have a voice, you need to vote.”

Denton Dickerson, another Black voter from Greenville, said in previous years he has been less engaged with politics.

“I can’t be as vocal as I am…I can’t be as fervent as I am about this election and not be willing to wait in (lines at) the polls should that be necessary,” said Dickerson.

He said he thinks there is more enthusiasm among Black voters this year, despite what he called limited options under the two-party system.

“Whoever is elected president, it matters. It might not matter so drastically to the point where you’re going to see instant change if you get the candidate that you want, but overtime these things matter,” said Dickerson.