|Issue 1.00 | Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008|
FALL MARSH. Despite somewhat warm temperatures throughout much of the fall, the marsh between Mount Pleasant and Sullivan's Island reflects recent cool weather. (Photo by Ann Thrash)
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OCT. 16, 2008 -- The 2008 presidential election promises to be an historic contest. The country is in the midst of substantial economic upheaval and, perhaps more importantly, the nomination of a black Democratic presidential candidate is a first. This election will likely have high levels of turnout, and much hinges on whether Democrats or Republicans turn out at higher rates.
Voting, however, is the last step in a two-step process. Citizens must first register before they can vote. Thus, the winning candidate will need not only for his supporters to be registered, but also for them to turn out on Election Day.
The percentage of registered voters in Charleston County has been on the rise since the early 1990s. Some of this increase is due to the passage of the Motor Voter Act in 1993, which enabled citizens to register through a number of government agencies. Republicans fought the bill because it was believed that a more convenient registration process would result in more Democratic registered voters. While this might have happened, there was little electoral impact. According to data available at SCVotes.org, a website run by the South Carolina State Election Commission, registration rates jumped by more than 10 percent in Charleston County between the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections, but voting rates actually declined by about 4 percent (see chart below). The same result was evident throughout the country. Current county registration rates are virtually unchanged from those in the last presidential election.
Perhaps more meaningful conclusions can be drawn about the effect of voter registration if we separate registered voters into demographic categories. South Carolina collects information on the gender, race and age of registrants. Unfortunately, the publicly available data only identify registered voters as either white or nonwhite. Analysis reveals little change in terms of the percentage of registered voters that are nonwhite. Nonwhites are, on average, are about 31 percent of registered voters. Nonwhites are 30.3 percent of registered voters in this current election cycle. In 2005, nonwhites were 35.5 percent of the population of Charleston County, so there is modest underrepresentation of minorities in the Charleston Country electorate.
As for gender, women compose a far higher percentage of registered voters than men. Females are approximately 56 percent of registered voters, and this percentage varies very little over the last 25 years. However, there are also 100 women for every 94 men in Charleston County, so this 6 percentage point disparity is also reflected in the population. Why more women than men in Charleston County? Nationally, the difference is a small 1 percent. The reason behind this difference is that women generally outlive men. Perhaps since Charleston County is an attractive place to retire, the area has a relatively larger proportion of older women.
What about the effect of age? The chart at left documents the registration rates among age groups from 1984 to present. From a long-term perspective, it is striking to see the steady climb of registered voters in the 35 to 64 age group. It appears much of their gain has occurred at the expense of those 22 to 34 years old. The younger group has moved from a 25 percent advantage in 1984 to roughly equal in 2008. Of course, this could be related to a relative decline in Charleston County for this age group.
Turning to the current election period, the most striking finding is the surge in registered voters in the youngest age category, 18 to 21. I doubt that there has been a sudden increase in the number of young folks in Charleston County within the last two years. Therefore, this is likely specific to this election. While the data cannot give us a conclusive answer to this question, there is considerable anecdotal evidence that young people have found Barack Obama an appealing candidate. Moreover, a recent national poll of registered voters 18 to 29 years old finds Obama has a considerable advantage: 61 percent prefer Obama vs. only 32 percent for McCain.
Whether Obama is the better candidate is beyond the scope of this article, but it should be noted that his candidacy seems to have awakened a long-hibernating generation to politics and civic life. If registration rates are a good predictor of actual voter turnout, then this election might prompt a great deal of political participation from groups that have either not voted in the past or voted at depressed rates.
Kapeluck is an associate professor of political science at The Citadel.
OCT. 16, 2008 -- Got a few minutes for some good news about the Charleston area? If you said "yes," you're in the right place.
Welcome to CharlestonCurrents.com, a new e-newsletter whose goal is to bring you thoughtful commentary from community leaders and positive news from local businesses, nonprofits, arts groups, governments and civic clubs -- and we'll bring it to you in a concise format that should take just five to 10 minutes to read. At CharlestonCurrents.com, we believe this is a terrific area in which to live, work and play, and we want to shine a spotlight on all the people and organizations that contribute to making it so.
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Mount Pleasant native Ann Mitchell Thrash has more than 20 years of experience as a reporter and editor. You can reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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roast on Charleston Harbor is good. When the music's by the legendary
beach music band The Embers, it's even better. And when it's all a benefit
for the Lowcountry Food Bank - well, it doesn't get much better than that.
Society of Charleston's 16th Annual Oyster Roast will be held 6:30 p.m.
to 9:30 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Maritime Center in downtown Charleston. A $25
ticket gets you oysters, hot dogs, chili and nonalcoholic beverages. Beer
and wine will be offered for $2 and $4 per ticket, respectively. Proceeds
go toward the work of the Lowcountry Food Bank, just in time for the demands
the organization faces during the holiday season.
Nov. 10 is the student and adult entry deadline for the Creative Recycling Art Contest, sponsored by Charleston County's Solid Waste and Recycling Department. The contest's purpose is to celebrate America Recycles Day 2008 in Charleston County.
"The contest is designed to highlight the creative talents of Charleston County residents and to increase environmental awareness and good stewardship through recycling," said Jenny Bloom, recycling educator for the county.
Students in grades seven through 12 and adults age 18 and older may enter artwork that uses a minimum of 70 percent recycled material. The top prizes are a $300 savings bond in the student division and $300 in art supplies and hardware store certificates for adults.
The entry deadline is 4 p.m. Nov. 10. An awards reception will be held for all entrants at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 15, which is America Recycles Day, at the Charleston County Main Library, 75 Calhoun St. For detailed contest rules, call Bloom at 720-7111, ext. 28.
Clean up our act
Most of us will never see our name up in lights on Broadway, but we can see our name, or our favorite club's name, up in green on a highway sign by volunteering for the next Adopt-A-Highway cleanup, scheduled for Nov. 15.
Neighborhoods, civic groups, businesses, church groups, schools, clubs and individuals are needed to adopt a 2-mile stretch of highway in Charleston County. The S.C. Department of Transportation provides trash bags and safety materials. You and your group provide the elbow grease.
Cleanups are held four times a year. Once your group cleans a stretch of highway two times in a row, SCDOT will put up a sign honoring your work.
In 2007, volunteers collected just over 75,000 pounds of litter from Charleston County highways, according to DOT. Approximately 2,000 volunteers representing 130 groups cleaned 192 miles of county roadways in the four cleanups held last year.
To volunteer or learn more, call 1-888-226-9694 or go to http://www.scdot.org/community/adoptahiway.shtml#form.
Fine-art fundraiser to help schools
The art programs at nine local high schools will benefit from money raised Nov. 8 at the Charleston Fine Art Dealers' Association's 10th annual Charleston Art Auction. More than 100 contemporary and period works of art by nationally known artists will be up for bid beginning at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel, 68 Wentworth St.
The association says funds raised will provide much-needed art supplies for Burke, James Island Charter, North Charleston, R.B. Stall, School of the Arts, Septima P. Clark Academy, St. John's, Wando and West Ashley high schools.
Tickets are $40 per person - and that's tax-deductible. Call 722-2172 to reserve tickets. Go to http://www.cfada.com for more about the association and its members.
"Terry Kay's latest work, The Book of Marie, is a love story inside the tale of how the civil rights struggle impacted Southerners and small towns. It recalls James Patterson's stories of the heart, Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas and Sam's Letters to Jennifer, but it cuts deeper into the soul of the South because of how it addresses social change. Terry Kay, seemingly overlooked by the national mainstream media, again proves he's a brilliant storyteller. If you haven't read a book by him, this one's a good place to start."
A recipe for "Oyster Soop," taken from Eliza Lucas Pinckney's 1756 "receipt" book and credited to "Mrs. Blakeney":
"Slice three Onions and lay them in the bottom of a pott with a quarter of a pound of good butter, cover it close and let it fry till the onions are tender then pour on them 3 qts of boiling water and let it stew and then put in the Liquor of the Oysters being first strained through a cloth, put in also a bunch of sweet herbs made of thyme, sweet marjoram, winter savory and a good handful parsley shred fine. Likewise some pepper nutmeg whole mace and twelf spoonfuls of grated bread. Lett all boil together and just before you take it up put it in the oysters. Let it boil a little longer have ready to yolks of 4 eggs beat up with a glass of wine and spoonful of vinegar, put it to the soop and let it thicken a little. Dish it with toast bread cut like dice."
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Jack McCray, a writer based in Charleston and co-principal of the Charleston Jazz Initiative, offers these five little-known facts about Charleston's place in jazz history:
1. Deep roots. With coastal South Carolina being the first place where Negro spirituals were documented, Charleston's jazz roots are as deep as any other cradle of jazz.
2. Nurseries. A group home for boys and girls, the famed Jenkins Orphanage (1891-present), and a freedmen's school founded after the Civil War, the Avery Normal Institute (1865-1954), combined resources in the late 19th century to plant the seeds that led to Jenkins' becoming one of the most prominent jazz nurseries in America.
3. Sowers. Charleston jazz musicians participated in spreading America's most original art form around the world as much as those from any other city. This phenomenon peaked during and after World War I by way of traveling shows, military bands and early jazz bands.
4. Green. Rhythm guitarist Freddie Green (1911-1987), a Charlestonian who learned music at Jenkins Orphanage as a nonresident, was the principal architect of the sound of America's quintessential swing band, the Count Basie Orchestra, according to Basie himself. Green worked with Basie for nearly 50 years, a distinction that's come to be known as the longest gig in show business.
5. Livingston. Charlestonian Joseph "Fud" Livingston (1906-1957), a very accomplished reed player and composer/arranger, wrote the 1931 hit "I'm Through with Love," which was made popular over the years by singers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Nat "King" Cole and Marilyn Monroe, who sang it in the famous movie "Some Like It Hot" in 1959.
"It is common
sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try
another. But above all, try something."
"Regulated Wild": 7:25 p.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 6, Jewish Studies Center, College of Charleston, 96 Wentworth St., Charleston. Dr. Richard Porcher will give a talk, "Regulated Wild: The Impact of Human & Natural Forces on the Lowcountry Landscape." Free. More info: email@example.com.
Food Bank Oyster Roast: 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Nov. 7, Maritime Center, Charleston. Fund-raiser for Lowcountry Food Bank features beach music band The Embers. See Good News for details.
CSO Backstage Pass: 7 p.m. Nov. 7, Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St., Charleston. Palmetto State native Robert Moody will be guest conductor for an unusual concert. The evening's most distinctive piece will be Mason Bates' "Rusty Air in Carolina," which uses electronics performed on laptop computer and drum pads to bring the white noise of katydids and cicadas on a Southern summer night into the concert hall. $25. More info/tickets.
Charleston Art Auction: 7:15 p.m. Nov. 8, Marriott Renaissance Hotel, 68 Wentworth St., Charleston. Fundraiser to provide art supplies for several local high schools. See Good News for details.
Holiday Festival of Lights: Nov. 14 to Jan. 4, James Island County Park, 871 Riverland Drive, James Island. Millions of sparkling lights and hundreds of imaginative displays line the roads through the park. Also includes marshmallow-roasting and activities for kids, gift shop, climbing wall and walking trail through Winter Wonderland. More info.
Sustainable Design: 6 p.m. Nov. 18, Charleston Visitor's Center Theater, 375 Meeting St., Charleston. Part of the Lulan Sustainable Community Lecture Series. Speaker Nathan Shedroff, chairman of the MBA in Design Strategy program at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, will give a talk titled "Design is the Problem and the Solution: The Future of Design Must Be Sustainable." More info.
"Old Hickory" Talk: 7 p.m. Nov. 18, Holliday Alumni Center, 69 Hagood Ave., Charleston. John Meacham, editor of Newsweek magazine, discusses his new book "American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House" as part of the Fulghum Lecture Series at The Citadel. Fundraiser for the S.C. Historical Society. $25. More info.
In this section, we offer a list of good reads that you might want to consider reading:
10/15/08: Kapeluck: Election turnout
10/15/08: Meet CharlestonCurrents.com
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