RNE News

The Saber

RNE News

The Saber

RNE News

The Saber

South Carolina is lacking a youth voice

Rissy McDonald


Out of an estimated 900,000 South Carolina residents who voted in the recent 2024 Presidential Primary, approximately 2% were under the age of 25. That’s 18,000 voters who fall into the category of youth voters. In comparison, there are over 320,000 South Carolina residents between the ages of 20-24. South Carolina has a history of low youth voter turnout. In 2022, only 18.4% of eligible youth voters cast their ballot. T.J. Lundeen, the director of public information and outreach at the South Carolina Election Commission (SCEC), says he is working to change that.

T.J. Lundeen, speaking to student journalists. Lundeen is the director of public information and outreach at the South Carolina Election Commission, and is focusing on increasing youth voter turn out. (Alyssa Amaker)



Lundeen spoke at length about the different strategies his team uses to try and encourage youth voter turn out.

“We’ve tried to create some buzz using college sports. We put our branding and our information out at University of South Carolina football and basketball games, Clemson university, the Citadel. Part of my job since last year is to go even younger from the college age. Into the high schools, to make sure that even before you’re of voting age, you understand that it’s something important.” Lundeen said.

As part of this effort, the SCEC has visited several high schools across the state, including Blythewood High School. They have plans to visit several Lexington District 1 schools in the upcoming week.

Lundeen admitted that the SCEC hasn’t yet reached their full capability when it comes to connecting with Title I schools, like RNE.

“We’re getting there. We just started our outreach campaign…. I live around the corner from Richland Northeast, and the school is on our list. We have to get permissions, some from the principal level, others from the district level. We’ve reached out to every school in the state, and we’re just trying to get them on the calendar.”

Another one of Lundeen’s priorities when working with the SCEC is to increase voter representation among minority groups.

“I think there’s a disconnect. I think there’s a lack of representation. And that’s hard. You have to get a candidate who comes out and says ‘I’m someone you can trust, I’m someone to represent you’ and that’s been very difficult in South Carolina to see that with different minority groups.”

That disconnect is clear. In the 2022 election, 77.3% of all voters were white, despite making up only 68.9% of the population.

Sabreen Akram, a vendor at Soda City, runs a stand with the help of her 16 year-old daughter. Akram said that she has hope for the future.

“I think with social media, the youth will get the word out. I take my daughter with me when I vote, I try to prep her.”

There are multiple resources available to voters in South Carolina.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Caroline Brandes
Caroline Brandes, Editor-in-Chief
Caroline Brandes is a current sophomore at Richland Northeast High School, where she is involved in Convergence Media Program and the school's Mock Trial team. She acts as Editor-in-Chief of The Saber online publication, along with her co-editor Alyssa Amaker. In her free time, she does Girl Scouts, and enjoys cooking, reading, and writing. After graduation, she hopes to attend college, and possibly study law.
Alyssa Amaker
Alyssa Amaker, Editor-in-Chief
She’s a senior in the IB Diploma program, a student journalist for the Saber online newspaper, and an active part of many clubs around campus including Senior House, Book Club, Gear-Up, and more. After high school, she plans on double majoring in education and English with a minor in French to pursue her passion for teaching modern literature. Outside of school she enjoys reading, writing, and listening to music. If you see her in the hallway, there’s a 99.9% chance that she has her headphones on and a book in hand.
Rissy McDonald, Editor-in-Chief
Maricellyn "Rissy" McDonald is a senior in Richland Northeast's International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and Convergence Media magnet. She aspires to pursue journalism as a career and travel the world. She serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Saber Online publication. Rissy is a writer, a dreamer, and an advocate for social change. She plans to pursue a journalism major at a four-year university. “Art is about building a new foundation, not just laying something on top of what’s already there.” – Prince

Comments (0)

All The Saber Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *